I went to the local Social Security Administration office this afternoon to have my name change processed.
I went to the office because it’s only about ten minutes from home and I could use the necessary documents without having to give them up for any length of time.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I got there…but what I found made the “great unwashed” who frequent the local DMV office seem as pristine as angels.
I was hit with the stench of rank body odor and urine as I walked through the door. Babies were screaming (and I mean SCREAMING!), people were near-shouting in at least four different languages. And the security guard asked the same six people to “keep this area clear” five different times before they chose to move.
After checking in at the computer to get my service number, I sat between a woman and her mother, by best guess is they were Indian (from India, not American Indians) and two little Spanish speaking girls who played a quiet “chopsticks” like hand game to entertain themselves. They smelled of pee pants, but were quiet. (One out of two ain’t bad.) The Indian ladies were each reading a book. The babies never stopped screaming.
There I sat with my little folder containing my passport, current SS card, birth certificate, and the shiny new marriage certificate feeling increasingly anti”great American melting pot”. (Thank you Schoolhouse Rock.)
I’m not a racist. I’m not anti-immigration. I mean, we all have ancestors from somewhere outside the borders of the US…but as I listened to the questions about medicare and medicaid benefits from individuals who, at that very moment, were applying for social security cards…my hackles went up a little.
I’m not going to soapbox about this.
We all know it’s not my hot-button issue.
Immigration is what it is.
I’m lucky enough to be born American for all the good it does.
When the man finally called D494 I leapt from the seat and followed him through the door as quickly as I could without trampling any of the screaming babies.
I presented him with all my documents and he stapled my old card to my application handed me a receipt and thanked me for having everything I needed before sending me on my way.
A Social Security card with my new name should arrive in my mailbox in seven to ten days and I only sacrificed two and a half hours of my life in that waiting room.
I’ll consider it an adventure!
I did come home and take a shower though…I felt like the smell clung to me and I just couldn’t abide that.
Social Security and Unemployment Offices are the same in England ~ with the exception that we have a different racial mix of recent immigrants. We now have an influx from Eastern Europe and North Africa. Immigration is a hot issue here, we are a small country with a huge foreign population, and many ‘real’ English people are beginning to say that the country is full… Sad but true.