Friday, March 30, 2018

SOLSC Day30 - A Morning at the Social Security Office

Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 30 — A Morning at the Social Security Office

"Is today Sunday?"

"No, it's Friday."

A husband and wife, both about 70 years old, along with a very elderly woman, about 90, were seated in an office of the Social Security Administration.  I was sitting in the row of seats right behind the threesome, so I couldn't help but overhear some of their conversations. The elderly woman, who I'm guessing was the mother of the other woman, was the one asking the questions.

"Why are we here?" the mother asked.

"Because we need to change our address, " answered the daughter.

"Can't we do that in the mail?"

"Probably. Or maybe in an email," the woman replied, continuing to sit and wait.

I chuckled inwardly at that. If I didn't have to be here in person, if I could just get online to do what I needed to do, I certainly wouldn't be sitting here waiting in this little room with 40 or so other people. 

I looked around the room again. There was an interesting assortment of people, of all colors and walks of life. Some were there by themselves, like I was; some were there with one or more others. I heard different languages being spoken during my waiting time --- Spanish for sure, and what I think may have been Korean. I also saw several people speaking to each other in American Sign Language. 

I gazed at the video monitor on the wall, the one that soundlessly displayed written announcements and showed what number of person was being waited on. There were generally four people being waited on at one time, at different counters. I was number A55; when I had arrived, the number being waited on was in the A30's, and now was up to A40. I was getting closer.

The security officer is NOT authorized to answer Social Security program questions, warned the video monitor. That struck me funny for some reason. I had already had an encounter with the security officer, a young uniformed man who had asked me to move my car only about a minute after I had entered the building. There hadn't been any parking spots when I had arrived, so I had parked over at the far edge of the parking lot....not a legal spot, but not in the way of anyone who needed to come and go.  Or so I thought. "No," the young officer had explained to me, "I can't let you park there." So I had gone out to move my car into a spot which thankfully had just opened up.

Received a phone call from a psychic that promised wealth, health, or happiness? questioned the words on the video monitor, Don't fall for scams....  I shook my head. A psychic? How bizarre. But I knew that too many older people did fall for scams. Such a shame that they had to be warned about such things.

"Is today Sunday?" The older woman was questioning her daughter again.

"No," the daughter replied patiently, "It's Friday."

When disaster strikes, paper checks can't be delivered. Switch to direct deposit. advised the monitor.  Hmmm, I thought, that's sound advice.  I never thought about that before. I made a mental note to make sure that I sign up for direct deposit for my Social Security checks, whenever that day comes.  I thought about the disaster situation again. Yes, direct deposit would be a really good idea in that situation. Unless it's a REALLY big disaster and the banks get wiped out also. Hmmmm. Sometimes I think too much.

"We don't have our Social Security cards with us." The woman was now speaking to her husband.

"We don't have our Social Security cards with us?" the husband echoed calmly.

"I don't know if we even HAVE cards, do we?" the woman asked. There was no stress in her voice, no panic.

"We'll probably have to go through the whole process to get new ones," the husband noted. 

I was amazed at their matter-of-fact attitude. I would have been in a tizzy, worrying about whether I needed my card, whether I even had a card. I would have been thinking about all the trouble I'd have to go through to get a replacement card. But not these people. They barely moved a muscle and just waited serenely. Whew, maybe I needed to be more like them.

The woman spoke again. "Let's move over to the last seats in the row so we can be closer." They wanted to be sure to hear when their number was called. The husband got up to retrieve the mother's walker, and they all proceeded to settle in to new seats. I turned my attention to something else.

The voice of the very elderly woman interrupted my thoughts. "What are we doing here?" she asked her daughter.

"We're going to change our address," came the gentle answer.

I smiled to myself. Bless their hearts.

JudyK  March 30, 2018

1 comment:

  1. You did an awesome job of capturing all that was going on in the SSA office. I could imagine the scene.
    I’m feeling badly for the people that don’t know they should have cards with them. Usually need that and their time will be a waste.
    Very well detailed slice!


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