Each and every week for the past twenty or so years I’ve sat down and knocked out one of these columns. Each week that goes by, I search for something new to write about. In all of these years I cannot think of a single thing that I’ve written about more than once or twice. I seem to do a lot about men and women, but that just seems natural to me.
The other topic I’ve focused upon is the government. It always seems like there is something to write about in that category. I never run out of things to discuss. This past week was not different.
As you might recall, we’ re moving into another house. We finally sold ours and started moving over a week ago. Moving entails changing your address, moving your utilities and various other functions. If you’ re trying to look for something to write about, it also gives you an opportunity to observe new things, any of which might be the subject of another weekly effort.
This past week was no exception. My first trip was to the post office. You can always count on something happening there. As luck would have it, I made two observations which I’ll tell you about. Several years ago, we stopped receiving mail at our house due to some folks stealing things in our box. We started using a post office box. Trust me that has led to some things I could write several columns about, but I don’t have the time this week. Anyway, after standing in line for about fifteen minutes I handed over my two keys for the box to one of the guys at the counter. I told him that I had changed my address the week before and just wanted to return the keys. He hands me a two page form to fill out. I’ m thinking it’s to get the money back for the unused portion of my box rent which I had just paid. Seeing that it looked rather lengthy, I stepped tot the side so other people could take care of their business. I told the postal employee that I would fill it all out and was he the person that should get it once I finished. He said Yes, and then I can give you your two dollars back.’ I asked what happened to my box rent and he said I’d have to come back for another form; this one was just for the return of my key deposit. I walked out, who has time to fill out two pages for two dollars’ Not me.
On the way to the car, another guy has one of the drop in boxes open and is taking all of the mail out and putting it into a big basket. A lady stops and hands him a couple of letters. He tells her they have to go into the slot in the box once he’s finished cleaning it out. She tells him that she’ll miss the pick up if she has to do that and can’t he just put them in his basket while she’s standing there’ He says, nope has to go into the box. Then he closes the box, pushes the basket away and the woman stands there. I told her to go back into the post office and put the mail in the slot inside, it might still go out. Insanity.
I call the alarm people to have my alarm disconnected. After you go through about five minutes of some unknown music the voice mail prompt tells you that if you want to change or disconnect your service, press three. I do this and the music comes back on. Another three or four minutes goes by and finally a real human (I suppose she was real) comes on the line and I tell her I want to stop the service since we’ re moving. She says I can’t do this at this number since they are the local office and I have to go through the national office to cancel service. I ask if that’s the case, why have an option number three on your voice prompt and she tells me that she really doesn’t know , but it’s always been there and she gets asked this question several times a day.
My final for the day was when I called the power company to disconnect my electricity. Here again, you get a full ten minutes of Mozart’s string quartet for cement pouring or something like this. Anyway, the prompt tells you to enter your ten digit account number and press the pound sign. I do this four times and each time it tells me I don’t have a valid account. Finally another human comes on the line (I swear it’s the same woman as the one working at the alarm company) who tells me I don’t have an account with this number. I tell her that’s funny since they have been cashing my checks for over ten years without any problems. She asks if there is a hyphen before the last number in my account. I tell her yes and she says that’s the problem. She says I must enter the account number as well as the hyphen. I tell her there is no hyphen on a telephone and she tells me I hear this every day..’
I have to stop now and go unload some boxes.