"SO YOU TELL ME WHERE IT SAYS I CAN'T USE MY CELL PHONE IN HERE?"
The security guard of the social security office points wearily to a crumpled photocopied sign which says "NO PHOTOGRAPHY". It has a picture of a camera and a cell phone with a line through it. The woman retreats, muttering: "Alright then, I just wanted to know where it says I can't use my cell phone. I am not a child. Your uniform does not impress me." She slumps back in a chair with a defiant look on her face.
I take a number and a seat in the crowded room. I look at my number. I memorize my number. I do not want to miss my call. Rosie is trying to stroke a baby again and I am not sure the mother appreciates her grubby fingers on her spotless child. Monday lunch time is not the best time to apply for a social security card. Rosie's nap time is not the best time to apply for a social security card. She squirms and wriggles in the buggy.
"E234.." "E234", I check my number again. "PLEASE, LOOK AT YOUR NUMBER!" a big voice bellows into the room. I do. It is not E234. "Last call for E234". E235?" E234 walks up to the counter a few minutes later. He had not looked at the front of his piece of paper, he explains - with the number on it. "GET A NEW NUMBER, WE CAN'T HELP YOU, WE HAVE TO GO BY THE NUMBERS." The room watches in silence. E234 pulls a new number and takes to his seat again.
I am pushing Rosie around the room to keep her happy and away from babies. Each time a number is called, I look at my number. Frank has a problem with the bank. I hear that. Frank does not understand. Frank is told to sit down, while they sort it out. I do a few more rounds. Franks is called again. O, no, Frank has gone to the bathroom, he is going to miss his turn. I anxiously look for Frank. Frank is back. Good, good.
Finally;"D40" That is me.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a social security number. Set to go.