If Val was meant to give money back to the government...the government would have made it a little easier. Right?
Yesterday I met my sister the ex-mayor's wife at the local office of the Social Security Administration. We agreed on 9:30. Always an overachiever, Val got there at 9:15. To her delight the lot was almost empty. Good thing, because those stripey parking spaces are slated the opposite way of the entry.
I went on through, eschewing the two HANDICAP spaces by the door, because I am not a scofflaw. I went over onto the next-door realty company's lot, backed up, and returned to slide T-Hoe into a space on the end. Only a handful of cars were parked up along the building. And none in the four rows of slots. Since I was early, I sat in T-Hoe and listened to the 60s, 70s, 80s, and Prime Country.
Not much to see up there on top of the hill, in the town named for a hill, that used to be named for a river. Oh. Here came the mailwoman that I'd passed on the way up. No mail Jeep in sight, either. That is a job I would have given my left leg for back in my early days. Well. That would have defeated my purpose of getting paid for exercising all day after putting numbers in order. But I might have bribed somebody for it.
The day grew warmer around 9:20, so I put down T-Hoe's driver's window. I was jammin' to some Radar Love when it happened. Apparently, one of the folks exiting the SS office picked up on my radar beam. He looked like that singer, Moby, without glasses, and with a body like one of those BoBo dolls that kids punch. Wider at the bottom. He was wearing a plain white T-shirt, jeans so new they were still stiff, and white, white leather (or faux) tennis shoes.
Moby Thick walked very close to T-Hoe's front bumper, chuckled, then backed up!
"Oh. Tahoe. I used to be a truck driver. That's a town out in Arizona, I think."
Far be it from Val to repel the charge she had attracted with her weirdo magnet. That would be rude. Wouldn't it?
"Heh, heh. Arizona...or Nevada, maybe?"
"I used to travel all over, but they stole my truck, and all my stuff in it, and then sold it and registered it in MY NAME! Now I'm trying to get another truck. I don't want to OWN it. I just want to drive for free the rest of my life. Um. I'm just being sociable." He stood, as if not sure what to do next.
"Oh, that would be terrible, to have your stuff stolen. And to register that stolen truck in your name--that's not right!"
"Yeah...well...I was just being sociable." And off he went, carrying a box that looked like it once held the shoes on his feet, the back of his neck tanned darker than Singer Moby will ever dream of, and waited to cross the road to a muffler shop.
Recovering from that encountered, I remained very cognizant of my surroundings, and noted that cars were whipping into that lot like minivans at Sonic on Halloween Free Corn Dog night. One lady to HANDICAP, an elderly man and woman right next to her, an actual minivan (too early and in the wrong place for free corn dogs) across from me with a couple that took in a little girl but left two boys in the van, a truck with an older well-kept man, and a car near me with an adult dad/son combo, the dad of which limped severely and had a bandage on his ankle. The time was 9:28.
And here came Sis!
"You don't know how this lot just filled up. They must have thought it opened at 9:30 instead of 9:00."
We went inside. Sis stepped up to the desk, with me at her shoulder. The uniformed, armed man behind the desk asked, "Do you have any weapons? Guns, knives, pocketknife?"
Sis kind of paused. Like she was going to say something sassy. "No. No weapons." Then she turned to look at me. "Well, I can't speak for her. She's with me. You don't, do you?"
"No. No weapons."
Sis was told to sign in with her Social Security number. Even if she was there for something not involving her Social Security number. Well. That screen was displayed to the signer-inner, and EVERYBODY IN THE WAITING ROOM! I swear, that monitor was like a 32-inch TV. I stepped in front of it to provide Sis some privacy. For an agency that has such a high identity theft rate, you'd think those people would make their procedures more secure.
We were given a ticket with the number 15. I told Sis to take the only two seats together, over in the corner, and that I was using the bathroom out by the door. By that I mean their restroom was located out beside the door. Not that I was simply going to let loose in that area. When I came back, Sis said the guy in front of her said that no numbers had been called in the last 20 minutes.
"If I had known this was the procedure, I would have come and signed in. I was here 15 minutes ago! Do you think, if Mom came in here, she would have admitted to the pocketknife in her purse?"
"No! She wouldn't tell them."
"But if The Pony was with her, he'd have said, 'GRANDMA! You have that pocketknife you always carry in your purse!' She would have been searched! Or kicked out!"
"I think they just take it and keep it until you leave. I can't remember. I've been up here enough, you'd think I should."
We watched the SINGLE WORKER at a bank-teller-like window talk to a couple who stood with their backs to us. Guess they didn't want people getting comfortable, what with their ONE worker. And THEN that SINGLE WORKER told them, "Mike will call you back by name." Huh. We were probably going to get that treatment, because Sis had to choose the OTHER box on that giant monitor, us not being there for the other two choices of needing a Social Security number, or needing Social Security benefits.
That SINGLE WORKER called number 13. We were excited. Only two away! But next, she called number 403G. WHAT? This was no good! But it was, because next she called number 15. As you might imagine, Sis and I spent a good deal of time at that window, Sis trying to explain how we finally got Mom's medicare payment back for the month after she was deceased, but how we had now gotten it back again!
Oh, wait! There's a part I haven't told you about Sis's part of that money.
You can wait until tomorrow, can't you?