Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lady in Waiting, PART 2

Waiting it seems is my new past time. As I recently wrote, my whole life, as are the lives of us all, is an exercise in waiting. We wait for time to pass so that we may come to the next happening in our existence. And then, we wait for death.

Waiting invokes patience and understanding. Without these two components waiting can be aggravating, frustrating, and a source of immense stress. Anticipation coupled with a desire to achieve solutions feeds into that stress, until you want to yell out at the world, "THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS!"

Yes, I had to do some heavy duty waiting this week. And once again it involved a State of California bureaucratic system. This time it was the Secretary of State, Deborah Bowen's office.

When you call Secretary Bowen's office, the first thing the intended calming voice tells you is something along the lines of "Due to the state's fiscal problems, we are unable to answer your call, so listen to this endless phone tree so you can spend the next 20 minutes of your life listening to several possible options that may or may not solve your problem." It continues, "You may also find helpful information on the FAQ page of our website," blah blah blah.

You mean the one I got the phone number from? Uh...apparently not.

I've come to believe that phone trees are actually ironic reminders of why we should be wary of automation. Often when confronted with an automated voice I just start randomly pressing numbers and keys to try and get to someone...anyone who can tell me who I'm supposed to talk to. I've also come to believe that the people who write the copy that is uttered on those phone trees, are the same people who write standardized tests and 8th grade algebra problems. You know, the one's where a train leaves from one place and intersects a car that left from another, and you have to figure out who is going to go insane wondering which one get's there first.

After several rounds of options, I finally found the one I was looking for. "To talk to a technician press 0."

Really?!? Oh yeah baby! Give me your piped in music and tell me to stay on the line. I'm in this for the long haul. I've got a speakerphone. I can wait as long as you make me. Yeah...make me wait...I've got snacks at my desk...I could hold out for days, weeks mo...."Hello?"

"Thank you for waiting how can I help you?"

I state my case and find out I'm gonna have to wait some more, because they only update their records online once a week on Monday. Oh well.

What amazes me most about this most recent wait I had to endure, was that I was seeking basic service that any business would need. You know, businesses those money making ventures that create jobs and generate taxes so we can get out of this fiscal crisis mess thingy we're in. Services the state can no longer afford, because it doesn't earn enough income.

And yet there are still those who want to cut taxes even more. Seriously. I'm beginning to thing I should invest in a cleavage ascending fancy dress. If I'm going to be a Lady in Waiting, I might as well look the part.

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