Well, it's official. The Social Security Administration considers me a Palmer.
And let me just say, there is no way I want the government in charge of any more things than they have to be.
I walked in to a waiting room full of people. The room smelled slightly of old feet.
The only improvement in service the SSA has done in recent history is install a touch screen computer so that you can check in. This presumably, is so they can deal with you in the least amount possible.
When I came in they were on number C228 (don't ask me how that is a number) and I had gotten C232. Before I got too excited though, I looked at the room full of people and realized there were several lines of numbers depending on what you were there for and they were all going through the same windows of clerks. Boo.
Only 2 windows of clerks. Double boo.
I had a form to fill out and I did that quickly. Oh what to do with the rest of my time. Cell phones were strictly prohibited by signs everywhere telling you to turn them off. I, ever the rebel, left them (I have 2, one for work, one for me) on but with no ring (or so I thought, my personal phone did ring later but luckily no one noticed). I had planned on working while sitting there so that was now out the window.
So I started observing. There was a security guard/police officer with a gun. A gun at the SSA? I was totally surrounded by octogenarians. What the heck are they gonna do? I can see the headlines now, sweet 80 year old grandmother guns down a SSA office after waiting for 3 hours to find out where her money is. Please.
Rent-A-Cop: "Sir! Is that a cell phone?!"
Unsuspecting SSA long line waiter (meekly): "yes"
Rent-A-Cop: "Turn that off!"
Ah ha! Now I know why there is an officer there with a gun! It's so simple!
Meanwhile, it still smells like butt in the waiting room. And I am wondering if they are EVER going to get to C232. I'm still wanting to know why there are only 2 people manning the front to take care of a room of 30+ people. This is almost as bad as the DMV.
I then watched an older lady walk up to the Po-Po at the counter and say that she had an appointment 2 hours ago and when was it her turn? Her simple question was, when I am going to see someone behind the magic door? (keep in mind this is at about 2:15pm)
I quickly found out reason #2 that this cop carries a gun by his response:
"They will help you as soon as they can, I can tell you it will be before 4pm when we close."
How's that for efficient governing!
Now contrary to the DMV lines, when I actually had my turn, the lady was super nice. And very friendly. My only beef with her is that she took my old Social Security card and shredded it.
I wasn't really worried.
Not until she ushered me out the door with only a paper record stating that I would get my new card with the new name within 2 weeks. With the timeliness of this government, I'll be lucky to get it by the end of the year.
So here it is, the new name:
Leta Joy Palmer
(I was very sad to let Brass go, I loved my name!)
Good luck on any future trips to your local SSA office.
Don't bring a cell phone or a gun.