Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bureaucracy VS the Princess

Yesterday was a horrible day that ended on a better note than the one on which it began. Today has started out not so much better, what with my computer freezing and eating my entire post for this morning, without saving it.

Hateful, hateful computer.

But back to yesterday. I began the day by gathering our temporary marriage license, my driver’s license, my passport, my completed form ZQ6749w7/b, my book, (which IS a bit self-righteous, but the author does have a good voice and is entertaining, despite using more unnecessary metaphors than there are stars in the sky) and my (now working!) iPod, and headed off to the Social Security office to begin the name change process.

At 9:15 AM, I walked in and got a ticket, marked, “#S155, Estimated wait time 60 minutes” and looked around in the dim fluorescent lighting and chose a hard plastic chair next to a seemingly sleeping homeless guy, and crancked up my iPod to listen to the Hos in Different Area Codes.

Around 10:15 I pulled out my earplugs to start listening for the numbers being called. “E24, E24, please approach the counter.”

E24?!?!?! WTF? I have S155!

I went back to my book, but kept an ear out for the next call.

Ten minutes later, “E25, ticket E25, please come to the desk.”

Are you kidding me?

At 11:00 I heard them call G240. It was then that I realized that the Social Security office was working on a system more complex than any traditional alpha-numeric organization than I had ever seen. I began pondering, how far after E25 and G240 do you suppose S155 falls?

My answer finally came AT NOON, when I finally heard, “S154, please come to the desk.”

Hooray! Surely, I must be next!

But sadly, G248 was next.

I eventually heard my number at 12:15. I bolted to the counter, undeterred, grinning wildly, “Hi! I’m here to become Mrs. Funasaurus! Would you like to see my driver’s license? How about my passport?” I said gaily, shoving my pile of documents under the counter.

“Not yet, m’am,” said the drone, and she glared at me until I retrieved them. “Social Security number?” she asked.

I gave it to her, and then waited for what felt like ten minutes as she typed it in. I’m quite sure I only gave her nine digits, but wow, either she had to enter it four hundred times, or she dashed off a quick note to her drone husband debating the democratic system.

“Marriage license,” she finally asked.

I passed it through the window.

“No, the official one.”

“But? This IS the official one,” I said, waving the temporary one. “See, it has our signatures, our pastor’s signature, the time, date…” She just looked at me. “I was told this one functioned exactly the same as the permanent one,” I continued.

“No, I need the one that was issued by the state.

"The state gave me THIS ONE."

"Sorry. S156? S156, please approach the window."

"But, but, but... three hours!... Missing work?" I peeped.

S156 pushed me out of the way.

I was... Not Happy. Nay, I was downright disgruntled. I called The Funasaurus to explain that I would have to take more time off of work (time that I don't technically have) and do it all again. With the "official" marriage license. And then I got my shit together and as professionally and collected as possible, I sobbed like a blubbering idiot because that was a miserable fucking waste of three hours of my life that I will never get back.

Fortunately, that night, we went up to my parents' house to see some wedding pictures they had gotten, and we were greeted at the door with enormous glasses of wine, and so my night ended with ice cream and extra cabernet, and so life is not all bad.

But Social Security? I've got my eye on you.


audrey said...

I very nearly had the exact same experience when I went to change my name with Social Security. I hadn't gotten my new license yet (had the crappy temporary one they give you, though) but everything I carefully researched on the website led me to believe I had sufficient identification. Wrong. I waited for hours and was told they wouldn't accept my temp. license. I think I lucked out with a nice lady, though, because she saw me starting to panick about the fact that I'd just missed all that work (unpaid) for nothing, and mentioned that my insurance card would work. THANK GOODNESS I had already gotten new insurance cards with my new name!

I'm so sorry your story didn't have a similarly happy ending. But at least it did have wine. Which is pretty much always happy.

Angela said...

Okay, I am taking notes from you and Audrey so that hopefully my experience won't be as hellish... this is terrible! Why on earth would they tell you it functions like a permenent license if it really didn't?? And why is it that all government workers seem to get up on the wrong side of the bed every morning? I mean, I have had tedious jobs in the past where I've had to deal with morons, and if I'd had that kind of attitude I'd have been fired in a heartbeat.

Glad your day at least ended on a happier note...

Lilycurly said...

God this sucks!
I hate everything related to licenses and such non-sense. They are created complicated and confusing on purpose, it's like their only goal is to drive us poor innocent people raving-mad. Hate!

Christie said...

They all suck, I promise. My Social Security visit went very smoothly and lasted no more than 10 minutes. The DMV, however, took 4 hours and 2 trips. That whore behind the counter said my lease agreement didn't prove that I lived where I did (really? I mean that address matched the one of the electric bill I had, too) and they needed something that had my new last name on it. WHAT?! Really?! How could I get my married name on something without my i.d. having it on it? She asked for my new social security card, but I told her I couldn't get that without the i.d. and she said she couldn't help me. I HATE THE FUCKING DMV! I feel you, babe, I really do.

Oh, and when I got divorced, it took 3 trips and a lot more time to go back to my old name. You just can't win, I swear.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. I am in Social Security Hell because I lost my daughter's social secutiry card a while ago. She was only three when I got it. Why would I need to memorize it? I put it away in a place that was so safe, I can't find it. We now need a passport for her and I failed to memorize the number.

7 years down the line, I pick up the application form for a new SSN card and proceed to sit and wait with all my documents. Her birth cert, my birth cert, husband's birth cert, plus our (non-temporary/real/State Issued) marriage license. How much more proof do you need?! Apparantly A LOT more. The ssn "lady" wanted to see a photo ID with daughter's date of birth, height, weight, etc. She wants a school id. Daughter is in elementary school and they don't issue id's for their school. She just looks at me like, why doesn't she have an ID? How about her ORIGINAL school report card? Not enough info on those either. Okay, how about her insurance card? Oh! I'm all excited because we just received our new cards. "Sorry, those insurance cards don't work". Aetna doesn't put enough INFO on the cards to merit identification for the SSN!! Fu@k. So, now what do we do? Go to police and have an id made for her? Is that possible??

WARNING! Aetna insurance cards DON'T COUNT. ARGH!!!!! still trying to figure out what to do....

Leah said...

Don't forget that I want to see wedding pictures!

meno said...


Erin said...

I had almost the same experience trying to change my name! I brought everything with me that their handy little website told me too...but NO! I wasn't "official" enough. Grrrr!

Sorry you had such a rough time...but yay for being married :)

hamiam said...

Social Security is super sucky.

From the stupidass numbers to the inane zombies who work there. A blank shrug has to be part of the training.

I had no marital name change woes - but woe to me when I lost the kids' SS cards. They were in tow with me and screaming b/c apparently getting there at 9:00am was not soon enough to avoid the lunch rush.

April said...

I live in the Denver area too, and in order to avoid the insane wait I got there about 1/2 hour before they opened- I only had to wait about 30 minutes! So maybe try that instead?

CORI said...

Oye Vey. Its been 4 months since we got married and I have not even attempted to change my name. I've heard so many horror stories like yours and am not excited to even try.

Good luck next time. A big glass of wine always makes everything better (and pumpkin ice cream).

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain sis... I really do. I think my student loan from NY still has my old name on it...

Yoga Gal said...

You did have a nightmare of a day! I feel your pain!

Murphy said...

Oh my dear sweet girl! But Mrs. Funasaurus is such a GREAT name...we simply must get it changed for you ASAP. You should have called me...I would have been more than happy to slander governmental agencies with you...anytime. Love, love..M


What is the point of a temporary marriage licence- incase you change your mind after the honeymoon? :)

M-M-M-Mishy said...

I don't understand the complexity of the alpha-numeric systems government bureaus work off of. Why can't they just be numbers? And why are there 20 teller lines, and yet only 3 tellers ever working at one time?