Catch-22

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?

R: No.

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?

R: Yes.

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.

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3 comments

  1. Good post — reminds me of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on first?”!

    I feel your pain!

    BFF,
    Miss T
    also a military spouse

  2. Charla says:

    Hi, I’m Charla and I found you through Kbug! My husband is stationed here in Oklahoma and I definately feel what this soldier was going through. Steve and I just recently got married and I’ve been trying to get all the paperwork through for Tricare for me and our kids, which has been quite a chore. It seems like you have to go through 5 different people just to end up having to go back to the 1st person to get the answer. LOL It can be so frustrating, but even with all the headaches and hassles I still find myself wanting more and more of the military life. Funny how that happens! :)

    Anyway, I really like your site and all the different links. It was nice meeting you, feel free to stop by my page anytime!

    ~~Charla – Standing By My Man~~

  3. Michy says:

    Haha! Wow, that story makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. And it sounds all too familiar! I would have been going nuts just watching that transaction. Seriously…poor guy.