Early morning conversation
1-877-487-2778 … the phone rings, the usual automated messages: "press 1, press 3, press 1 …" and then, "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line." This time an automated voice tells me the wait will be fifteen minutes. Hurray! I whisper to myself. Usually it is 40 or 50 and on Saturday it was 55 minutes. Progress!
A man’s voice … a real man’s voice appears on the line:
"What is your travel date?"
"June 22, " I reply, "This Friday."
"Is your passport application in the system?" he asks. I start to smile …
"Since March," I say.
"Oh," pause, "What is your social security number?"
We go back and forth as he checks my name, number, state, birthday information.
"Your passport is still in the finishing up stages of being processed," he says. [Is he lying?, I think to myself. And what does that mean … "finishing up stages?" It has been in the system for four months] "When do you think you need it by?" he asks. [I am yelling inside my head now: "think?!" "think?!" I just told you 22nd of June … so what do you think?] I maintain a calm and rational voice, as neutral and automated as his, and I reply:
"Definitely by 21st because I fly out on 22nd."
"Well, if you don’t receive it by tomorrow [19th], call us and we will have it upgraded to same day, overnight," the man’s voice says. [I am thinking, well if you can do that tomorrow, why not do that today?]
I say, "Tell me. Honestly. Do you think there is any chance I will receive my passport?"
"Oh yes. There is a very good possibility you will receive your passport in time to travel," he replies – as stoic and calm as always.
I start to laugh … a little hysterically now?
"Oh wow!," I giggle, trying not to sound like a complete lunatic, "You are the first person to give me hope these past two weeks."
"I’m glad to be of service, Ma’am," comes the dead-pan reply.
I click off the phone and burst into tears.
I wonder, are there hundreds of thousands of people out there all over the country who are rapidly becoming hysterical lunatics this morning?
Or is it just me?
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Downs and up again (Update)