This past week I was at the clinic for my eye exam.
A young soldier (although they all look so young…must be that P.T.) was on line in front of me, trying to clear post.
I was trying not to listen, but the conversation was getting a little loud. The receptionist was looking at him with a combination of frustration, apathy, and a tiny bit of malicious glee that I have only ever seen on a bureaucrat. *
He was trying to retrieve his wife’s records and it went something like this:
R: You need to have form 33RGobbledeeGookDeltaR filled out.
S: That was not in my out processing packet.
R: Well, no…it is for a spouse’s records.
S: So should my wife have received it?
R: No, only soldiers receive out processing packets.
S: So how would we have known about it?
R: About what?
S: The form.
R: What form?
S: The form I need to get records.
R: You do not need a form to get records.
S: So can I get my wife’s records?
R: No, you need 33RGobbledeeGookDeltaR.
S: Can I get the form?
R: No, you don’t need a form.
S: Can my wife get the records?
S: Why not?
R: They are in the system.
S: Where are my records?
R: In the system.
S: The same system that has mine?
S: So why can’t I get hers?
R: They are in the system, so there is a form.
And so on…for about five or so minutes. This was one of those times when I wish I had a pen and pad to record this conversation. It was truly a work of art and my memory does not do it justice.
The poor soul wandered off, without his prize, looking dismayed and confused.
I went to the window and the receptionist seemed determined to continue the fight: “Not my fault…I just work here…there’s a form.”
I just mumbled something noncommittal, “Hmmm…yeah…I have a 1pm appointment; here’s my ID…” Thankfully no form was required.
All I can say is that I just cannot wait until it is our turn to try to clear this post. I will remember to bring pad and pen along.
* If you are a bureaucrat, I am sure you are a caring, compassionate, overworked soul. I do not mean you. Obviously.