Time Flies

Jan. 8th, 2009 12:32 pm
ahrensm: (Default)
"Every day," I said. "I'm going to write something every day." And I meant it. But, wait, that was 5 weeks ago? This time I promise to do better...

What I am NOT going to do is go to the unemployment office again ... ever! What a horrific experience that was. And, you know, I DO have a job. And it's not like I am depending on that money to eat. Just because my hours were cut by 60% doesn't mean I must become a slave to the state.

I think unemployment insurance is a great thing for those who need it, but I don't. Therefore, I'm not going to accept it anymore. Yes, it means I have to cut back on dancing lessons, but that is a small price to pay to not ever have to go to that place again.

"Oh, it's easy," they said. "You can do it all online," they said. Don't believe it! Every few weeks you must physically go to that place.

Perhaps it is not as hideous as I make it out to be, but it was an excruciating waste of time and, actually, quite frightening. I don't deal well with crowds. I'm not exactly agoraphobic, but I don't usually enjoy the company of strangers. I am not what you would call a "customer service" kind of person.

So, you see, there was this guy. He was a huge guy. Probably used to be a football player. No neck. You know the type. Huge. When I got to the 4th stage of my visit to the unemployment office (yes, 4th stage)about 3 hours into my stay there, I was instructed to sign a roster with my name and other identifying info..which I did. Then I was told to sit and someone would be with me shortly.

Well, the only seat available was beside the guy mentioned above. I had come prepared. I had brought a book and I promptly took it out and began to read. Mr. Huge, nudged me with his elbow and said, "Did you sign that paper there?" I replied that I had done. He then informed me that he had not signed it. I told him that he probably should. He then got up and went over and wrote something on the paper. Then he brought the clipboard which held said paper and handed it to me. I looked up from my book, accepted the clipboard from him and sat, waiting for an explanation.

He sat back down and said, "I can't read." I said, "Oh." I looked at the paper. Then I looked at him. Then I looked at the paper again. He said, "what do they want to know there?" And he indicated the column for SSN. I told him they wanted the last 4 digits of his social security number. He smiled and said, "Oh, I know that one." He took the clipboard back from me and scribbled the numbers. "What about here?" he asked. I told him they wanted to know why he was there. He thought about that for a few minutes and then said, "They said I couldn't get another check unless I came here." So I told him he was probably there for a review. He nodded enthusiastically and agreed. "Write that for me" he said. So I wrote "Review" in the column by his name, handed the clipboard back to him and resumed my book.

"They are fucking with me," he said. "OH?" I said. "Yea, they are trying to fuck me over." He began looking around the room in what I considered a paranoid fashion. "I've been here for 3 1/2 hours," he said. "Yea," I said. "Look," he said, "that woman over there." He indicated a woman sitting at a computer desk chatting with a man. "They keep screwing around with her so she can't do her job," he informed me. I looked again. It was, in fact two employees of the center chatting with each other. I could not hear what they were saying, but she was laughing occasionally. "I'm getting damned sick of this shit, excuse my language," he said.

"They told me to sit over here and someone would help me fill out this form," he held a form up for me to see that all the blanks were, indeed, still blank. "But now, they are fucking around and no one is helping me. My daughter brought me down here and could have stayed to help me fill out this form, but I didn't know I had to fill out a form and now they are fucking around and not helping me." His voice got louder and louder. Other people in the room started looking at us.

After a few minutes, a smartly dressed African-American woman in her early 30s came into the area and said, "Marsha?" I wiggled my fingers to indicate that that was, in fact, me. She said, "Right this way." I picked up my book, purse, and coat and stood to follow her when Mr. Huge popped up out of his chair and showed her his blank form. "Can you help me fill this out?" he asked her. She smiled and told him to sit and that someone would be with him in a few minutes. He sat, muttering to himself.

I followed her to her desk and we got on about our business.

In a few minutes Mr. Huge came into the same room with another worker and they sat at a desk not far from me. In no time at all, Mr. Huge, stood up out of his chair, grabbed his form, and said in a pretty loud voice, "They told someone could fill this out for me." The woman with whom he was working told him that it was against state regulations for anyone in the unemployment office to complete forms for clients. He started to walk away, turned back and told her he was tired of being fucked with; that he had been there for 4 hours; that his daughter was with him in the first place, but left because they said they could help him; that he knew it wasn't her fault; that he was NOT leaving until he got some help.

About that time I finished my work with the nice lady I was working with, grabbed my stuff and beat a path out of there.

I will not be going back!

Weeks after the fact, it occurs to me that Mr. Huge knew that "shit" was a word he should not use in front of me, but that "fuck" in any form was ok. He never once apologized for using that word, but the one time he said "shit" he asked me to pardon his language.

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ahrensm

October 2012

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