For reasons that will remain unexplained, I had to call Social Security Administration yesterday. Actually, I'll explain a little. It had something to do with our tax return being rejected for reasons related to one of our social security numbers. We're still not sure which one.
SSA has one of those wonderful automated phone menus that we've all come to know and love. What's more, this specific system featured voice prompts, meaning I had to say what I wanted instead of punch in numbers on the keypad.
Here's why I hate those voice menus: I don't know about you, but I don't save up my tedious phone errands for those precious few moments when Miriam is asleep, which means that she is awake and playing noisily in the background whenever I have to call the bank or whoever. That's usually not a problem since most automated phone menus have touch-key ability.
But SSA's system registered every little squawk, chirp, or cry from Miriam as one of my responses. So our "conversation" went something like this:
SSA: [A bunch of introductory stuff that I don't care to repeat here.] Please tell me what you need. You can say --
Miriam, in the background: Doggie!
SSA: I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Could you repeat tha--
Miriam, in the background: [maniacal laughter]
SSA: OK, you want to change the address to where your benefits are sent. Is that cor--
Miriam, in the background: Nuh?
SSA: I'll transfer you right away.
Then I hang up and have to start all over again, because don't even try pressing zero to get through to a human being. They've disabled that option, apparently.
The thing is, when I finally did manage to tell the automated lady that I needed to talk to a human being, she spent FOREVER telling me how long the hold time was, and that I could complete many common tasks online at ssa.gov, and why doesn't she read me the ENTIRE LIST OF THESE TASKS before putting me in the hold queue? Meanwhile, I still have the whiny one-year-old clinging to my leg.
And you know they really despise you as a human being because poor Jeremy had to go through all this, too. I was only able to verify the information for Miriam and myself. But even though I'm his wife, I apparently did not have the authority to confirm Jeremy's information. So he had to call back, separately, and go through all the automated menus just like I did.
Except actually, he didn't have Miriam squawking in the background, so maybe it wasn't so bad after all.