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August 24, 2009

Top Three Askings of the Past Three Weeks

A few recent askings, and what came of them:

1. Who do you think you are?

My birthday came and passed recently. How old am I? Almost almost something! (But then, aren't we all?)

Since my license was about to expire, I had to renew it. Since I wasn't eligible for an internet renewal, I had to apply in person. Since I've been on jury duty for the past two weeks, the only chance I got was a morning when the judge let us off. Since it's the DMV, there were long lines. Since I knew there would be long lines, I was prepared to wait. For hours and hours. Which I did.

[From the lovely San Diego Daily Photo]

What I was not prepared for, however, was to see a tall, skinny man dressed like a lay missionary officiously funneling people into the line -- the very front of the line.

It happened once, and I figured he was an employee and had the right to speed people through.

It happened twice, and I figured he was uniting family members (since some spoke the same foreign language and seemed to be interacting like family). Family or not, I started to get annoyed. The line was really really long, and people were holding places for big groups of relatives???

What the f*cking eff?

The third time, after I'd advanced closer to the front, he placed two people directly in front of me.

"Excuse me? Do you work here?" I asked.

"No, I do not."

"Then why are you placing these individuals at the front of the line?"

"I have a service that helps people get documents. We are in a hurry to process everybody as quickly as possible. We have a van waiting."

"Well, I'm also in a hurry. And I am not giving up my place in this line. You need to ask my permission, and then the permission of everybody behind me."

"Please. I am in a hurry."

By then people were turning and looking. One guy spoke up. "Is he putting people at the front of the line?" he asked.

"He is." I answered. "And he doesn't even work here. He's just in a hurry."

"I've been waiting for an hour! This is ridiculous!" someone else said.

I spotted a DMV employee and made a desperate gesture towards the interloper.

And she opened a new line!! Two minutes later, I was out the door.

Result: Justice, and recouped the time lost to previous line cutters. (On the way out, I asked for the man for his info. He works for a nonprofit that helps African immigrants get documents. That's noble, but non profit does not mean non wait. I'm tempted to complain formally, but do I have the time and energy for that??? I think not...)

2. Health insurance info?

I signed up for individual health insurance, since my grad school's place is extremely expensive. Before doing so, I shopped around and asked a ton of questions of the various companies. I recorded their answers, just in case.

Result: I'm even more freaked out about the health system in this country. Even simple questions got vague answers; one company lost track of my application, the employees kept using confusing terminology, and one woman there said there is no public information about how much certain procedures cost out-of-pocket. Then I found the exact material on their website! Sadly, that company had the "best" rated and priced plans available, so I opted for it despite my repulsive initial interactions.

If they act like this now, when I have the money for premiums and I'm young and healthy, what would happen if I God forbid needed their coverage?

All I can say is Vive la France!!

3. Health reform please?

Following that experience, I did something I've always wanted to do: I wrote a letter to my congresswoman, asking her to vote in favor of health care reform that includes a government option. I haven't actually sent it yet, because I want to be certain it's a wise move.

If she answered that simple, essential ask -- health care for all, as a right not a privilege -- that would be sooooo awesome!!

So that's that. Two recent requests, and one almost. What about you? Any interesting discounts or inquiries lately?
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