An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

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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