Wednesday, May 27, 2009


There's a huge shift happening here in Calgary. I know that for a fact. For some time I've been wondering if there's also a huge shift within me as well. I know I'm behaving somewhat differently when the chips are down but I'm unsure if it's a change or a reaction to change.

Life here in Calgary is moving at a super-fast pace these days. There's a huge shortage of employees. Actually, there has been for quite a number of years now. It's a great thing if you're job hunting. I kid you not, you could have a new job to start work the very next day within about an hour of knocking on doors.

In other ways, it's bad news.

*businesses are having a hard time keeping their doors open because they have no one to serve their customers or the business.

*employees are becoming quite aware that if they lost their current job there's another one out there for them within the hour and quite possibly with better benefits and better pay.

*customers are treated like crap because employees have no need to retain their job

I consider myself to be pretty damn sweet, understanding and even kind of fun to interact with. More and more, lately, I find that I can be quite NOT fun to interact with as well.

More often than not when I go out to take care of errands these days, I find myself having unpleasant experiences. I return home less happy than when I left. It used to be the case that errands put me in a good mood because I always find some sort of fun interacting with people while I take care of business.

And sometimes I find I actually find myself seething with ...yeah, fury's pretty much the correct word.

Example 1 ~

I began the process of changing my name and getting all my documents, cards, accounts, etc changed over. I was waiting on my birth certificate to arrive so that I could get my and my kids' passport renewals squared away. While waiting for it to arrive (over a month late EVEN though I made a point of explaining that I needed it for passport application AND the lil chickie made a note on the application and guaranteed she'd oversee this personally...) I filled out all the paperwork, had passport photos taken and rounded up all the other documents required.

Some things were a bit unclear but I reasoned through it and had everything set to go.

As soon as the birth certificate arrived, I brought everything down to the Passport Office. I got my number and waited. When my number was called, I walked up to the window indicated with a big friendly smile on my face, saying, "Wow. I didn't have to wait long at all!"

This 22 year young lil chickie looks back at me disdainfully with her nose wrinkled like I hadn't showered in a week.

"Do you have all your documents with you and application filled out according to the instructions attached to each application?" she used as a greeting.

"....? Yes." I wondered if it happened often that people got past the security and then the door checker and then the number giver outter and up to the 22 yr young chickie without applications and documents.

"Who are you applying for?" she asked with her back to me, looking at something in the back of the office.

"Myself and my two children."

"So that is 3 applications total."

I count on my fingers. Check again. "Yes. I believe that's correct." Maybe I answered in a non-regulated way with incorrect terminology and she wasn't actually insinuating that I couldn't count. I wasn't sure which.

"Have you included all the required documents and filled out all applications as clearly indicated on the instructions attached to each application form?" she asks looking down at the counter in front of her, flicking at a cuticle.

It seemed to me that that is the first thing she said to me but maybe this question was somehow different than the other or maybe she hadn't heard my answer the first time so I reply, "Yes. I believe so."

"May I have the first application? The first application would be your own," she says looking past me over my shoulder.

Cool. I learned something new. I never knew that to give your own stuff first when you were doing like 3...wait, is that supposed to be "me and my two children," or "3," again?...applications was actual proper procedure. I guess it must really matter which order you do things in. I wondered what order it would have to be done if it was my mother's and her husband's applications I was bringing in. Or my friend Margaret's, her boyfriend's and her son's. Uh oh. I was getting confused already!

I opened the envelope containing my stuff and handed her the stack of information. She picked up the application and opened the photo envelope.

"I can tell you RIGHT now, this photo will be rejected. It is CLEARLY indicated in the instructions attached to EACH application that photos with glare WILL be rejected. There is GLARE on your forehead here and when we scan it, the scanner will NOT pick it up and it will show as NOTHING...a completely BLANK spot."

I looked at her. I bit my tongue. I allowed, "Okay," to come out.

She continued on, informing me that she knew this for a fact and that she would do me a huge favour and hold my application at the office even though she could 100% predict that the scanner crap would crap out.

I began to feel my blood moving in my veins. I said to her, "Are you requesting that I go and have another passport photo taken?"

"Well, I can't take THIS one because as I TOLD you and as it is CLEARLY indicated on the instructions given, attached to EACH application......"

I purposely zoned her out because I saw things were going in a very bad direction and I knew the less I heard, the easier it would be to get out of there without altercation. I filed it in my mind. "Need to get different passport photo."

She continued through the rest of my application.

She pounded a highlighter on a spot on my application.

"Is this your WORK CELL phone number?" and looked at me accusingly.

I looked at the form. She was pointing to the employment section and the box that says Daytime Phone . I'd put in my home number.

"I work from home so it is my work number but not my cell phone number."

"Well WORK CELL PHONE number is what is being requested there. Fix it and initial." She flipped my form back at me and clicked some keys on her keyboard.

I stood still like a statue and looked at her for a few moments.

"Home IS work. And CELL phone is not indicated there," I replied firmly. I wonder when the government of Canada made it a mandatory regulation that every employed person in the country is required to have a WORK CELL phone.

"Well, that is the number that you are required to provide there."

Cell phone number. So I put my PERSONAL CELL phone number and wondered if she knew the truth she'd call security to have me taken in for strip search and questioning.

On and on she went in this vein. There was a place on my children's forms regarding adoption and custody disputes. The CLEAR instructions said that if there had been an adoption or if there were any custody proceedings before the courts to attach documents. Nope. No adoption. No proceedings. Unspouse and I agree we both are parenting just as before. I did not attach documents.

She read me the riot act on that too because "the instructions CLEARLY state..."

After about the 2nd or 3rd time she said that kind of crap, I noticed that every time she said it, her coworker helping someone at the window next to us would stiffen and lose track of what he was doing with his customer and go quiet, his attention more on what was going on at our window. Definitely she was distracting him with her attitude.

After 20 minutes of standing at the window and her telling me about a dozen times that "the instructions CLEARLY said..." and withOUT informing me what I needed to do or change or whatever, I'd had enough.

I looked at her in silence for about 5 seconds. She looked back at me with a, "Well! Did you HEAR what I said!?" expression.

I leaned forward and put my elbows on the counter, locking eyes with hers and answered...

"I am NOT a passport photographer. I am NOT informed of what is an acceptable or unacceptable passport photo. I feel that is the passport photographer's job. I am NOT a professional at filling out these forms. I do NOT work at the passport office. This is the THIRD time I've applied for passports in my entire life. Since it is the government and since 9-11 is part of history I am certain that requirements are different each time anyway. I do NOT know that they MEAN a cell phone number when it requests a phone number. The instructions do NOT inform me of the exact definition of "custody proceedings before the court". There. Fore. I do NOT believe it is necessary for you to speak to me as though I am STOOPID and I would appreciate you simply telling me WHAT it IS that you require from me."

Lil chickie's shoulders went back like I'd pushed her. She looked at me, and I saw in her face that she was contemplating pushing back. My eyes didn't leave her face, I cocked my head to the left and I allowed my eyebrows to raise a little.

From the corner of my eye, I saw the dude working next to her focus the direction of his face at some forms in front of him and grin his ass off.

We concluded our transactions fairly politely and efficiently after that.

But you know, there was also the birth certificate woman I dealt with. And today there was the doctor's office receptionist I dealt with because the kids and I had annuals over 2 months ago.

A girl in the office was to book a referral appointment for my son for a hernia then. I've called and called and left messages and no return calls, no notice of appointment for my son.

I called today and asked to speak to the doctor. I was informed that I could not, actually.

I began to explain that I would then like him to return my call and why but THIS lil chickie started talking OVER me, informing me that I should just wait and this and that and that and this.

Her final argument was that the doctor did not get into the office today until 2 pm so the girl who books the referrals hadn't really had a chance to speak to him yet.

I asked her just exactly what THAT had to do with the doctor telling the girl to book a referral appointment for my son over TWO MONTHS ago AND no one calling me back OR taking care of it all the times I've called SINCE then.

"How about I get him to call you back himself?"

"Well, since that's what I was requesting in the beginning I think that's a pretty fine idea if I do say so myself."

Mind phone call back yet. It's okay. I won't mind walking into the office if it comes to that.

I can't believe the gall of people these days. I feel so PUSHY lately but good God! We need passports and we need health care! It's not non-essential!

I wonder if maybe those cranky menopausal hormones are affecting me some. Truly, it doesn't take much to make me happy. Really, I think I'm justified. Still. I gotta wonder if "the change" is taking hold.

You should see what happens when I go to order a taco salad at a fast food place and some kid tries to be rude and trippy to me.

This is SO appropriate for me lately!

1 comment:

I'd love to hear your two cents!