Monday, October 05, 2009

Have A Nice Day

We are home. I still have one more trip post, coming later today, and--of course--photos. Which will happen. It's not just a myth.

I thought I'd share my little brush with bureaucracy from yesterday afternoon in the airport. Now, some of you may know that I am a veteran of the international adoption process. Some of you may even know what that entails. Either way, I'm here to tell you that I'm deeply familiar with the sharp inhalation coupled with a long, slow shake of the head that is the most typical response to any question that seems:

1. difficult to accomplish
2. hard to understand
3. lengthy, thus requiring more than 10 seconds of attention
4. not personally beneficial to the listener
5. requires operations such as crossing the room, or pressing a button on a computer

Not only do I know this, I consider myself a seasoned professional at handling this response. There was a time when I got the inhalation/head shake in a County Records office where--one day before--I'd gotten cheerful, immediate compliance. The request involved applying an ink stamp to a piece of paper. I remember that I raised my voice--only slightly--and with a steely smile spake thusly:

"Please listen carefully to what I'm about to say. I have already been to this office, and already gotten a 'yes' where you are telling me 'no.' So, just so we understand each other, I am not leaving this spot until you give me what I want. I will keep asking to speak to someone else until my request is granted, and I will do this all morning if necessary, and I will do it with a smile. I will not back down, go away or change my mind. There is only this piece of paper that stands between me and becoming a mother, and your resistance is not going to break me. I will overcome."

And she did it. How's that for can-do spirit? I like to think of those happy times as my first test of parenthood. And I think I rocked the bell curve.

The lady in the airport Lost and Found had no idea what a formidable opponent she faced when she buzzed me through her door. I had received a call in Jackson Hole from a man in the same office who told me my Kindle had been found. He asked when I could pick it up, and I told him Sunday. I asked if he'd be there, and he said no--but Joanne would. That's all I was told. It's all I figured I needed I know.

Now here I was:

Sam: Hi, are you Joanne?

Joanne: Yes. How can I help you?

Sam: I'm here to pick up my Kindle, which I left in a security bin a few days ago.

Joanne: (doing the inhalation/slow head shake thing) Ohhhh, I don't know. I doubt I can find that.

Sam: What? Can't you just look?

Joanne: I need the property number.

Sam: I don't have a property number. The man I spoke to didn't give me one.

Joanne: Who was this man?

Sam: I don't know him. When he said he wasn't going to be here today, I asked for your name. That's how I knew it.

Joanne: I think you're going to have to come back Tuesday, when he's here.

Sam: Tuesday! Can't you just look (trying to peer behind her head, where there was clearly a closet full of stuff)?

Joanne: Not without a property number.

Sam: Really? It's a Kindle. That's an electronic book, with a black...

Joanne: I know what a Kindle is. I have one.

Sam: Okay, can you see if there's one in back?

Joanne: Not without a property number.

Sam: Is there anything else you can check?

Joanne: I think you should just come back Tuesday, since that other guy knows more about it.

Sam: But he told me about YOU. That's how I know your NAME.

Joanne: I don't know...I don't think so...what day did this happen?

Sam: Tuesday, September 29, about 9:30 a.m.

Joanne: I don't know...(pulling massive, six-inch thick binder from beneath desk)...I don't think so...(opening book to September 29 and scanning down orderly list with finger)...I have a feeling this won't help....(finger alights on item KINDLE-BOOK-WHITE)...I don't know (points to property number next to item and then writes it down on another piece of paper)...this probably won't work...(walks to back room and returns with Kindle, encased in plastic)...I don't know...this could be yours....but I don't know (pulls another massive binder from beneath desk, opens to item, retrieves form with the report about my Kindle on it)...I need you to fill this out completely...

Sam: (snatching Kindle) Okay. (noting that I have to list my address, phone number, weight, height, family history, employment records, bank statements, references from former teachers, blood type, and degree of brownie chewiness preference on this form, but stifling EVERY SCREAMING URGE to ask why any of this is relevant)

Joanne: And I need your driver's license.

Sam: (STIFLING EVERY SCREAMING URGE TO ASK WHY THEY NEED MY DRIVER'S LICENSE WHEN THEY PREVIOUSLY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW MY NAME, AND ALL THEY'RE DOING IS GIVING ME MY OWN PROPERTY, WHICH I THOROUGHLY DESCRIBED) Here it is.

Joanne: Thank you. Have a nice day.

Sam: Thank YOU. (turns to go, realizing door is locked, waiting with heart-pounding to be buzzed out, and then practically running into the hallway, Kindle clutched to my chest)

And that, Dear Readers, is how I rescued my Kindle from the fire-breathing dragon of institutional non-policy. It's resting now and doing fine. It appreciates your kind wishes, and in lieu of flowers, requests that you send donations to the Fund for San Diego Government Employees, to get them a better coffee maker.

10 comments:

Aunt LoLo said...

See? Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. What was lost is now found...sick feeling in stomach at finding you've made an unfixable mistake is replaced with euphoria and GRATITUDE as you realize some honest person fixed it for you!

Good heavens...THAT is my idea of mercy. Love it. You just made my day - I love a happy ending.
(because, yes - i took your story of loss VERY personally. ;-))

Stephanie said...

Thats amazing!! I cant believe you got the Kindle back! And that the airport actually called you about it! Even though you had to go through the fire breathing Joanne that is still awesome!!!

Prosy said...

I have never once lost something that I was actually able to recover, some I'm a teensy bit proud of you, even with the tribulations you had to overcometh.

Myrnie said...

Amazing, amazing. So glad someone turned it in! I know how much my grandpa adores his Kindle, it would be so sad to lose!

And...remind me to NEVER get on your bad side. Or stand in your way. :)

Stephanie said...

You said it, YOU ROCK! I will not soon forget that speech--awesome.
xoxo
s

Mary said...

I am just glad that you did not have to notarize, certify and authenticate your Kindle!

Maybe this is the same woman I ran into at the State building. Remember?

So glad to hear about Kindle's "Happy Ending!"

oxox

Mary

Jen said...

I CANNOT believe you actually lost something at an airport and GOT IT BACK.

And good for you for making it happen! I'm so proud of you. ;-)

Truly.

And I'm glad you've been having such a great trip. Can't wait for the pix!

xo
Miss J

Joan said...

Hurrah! Well done. Glad you and your possessions are safely together again. Sounds like a great holiday.

erin said...

Thank Gosh you got your Kindle back! I feel refreshed having just read that.

Refreshed and frustrated. Joanne needs wedgie...or a good screw.

I can't decide which.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know" why it was funny and at the same time reminding of my similar pains with correcting taxes ruined by the accountant, Verizon's charging me 2 months after I canceled my service while they had confirmed it, the fitness gym charging automatically again after my membership ended, not having received a property number for a car I have sold. oh god.