Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cat / Sunrise with Geese in the Sky

"...Your work needs you as much as you need it. Your work begs your expression. You need to materialize it on a daily basis, from your enriched life--the better side of your nature. Without your personal focus and action, your magic cannot and never will exist. Think of all the great work you have left to do. Think of how necessary it is for people to see good work. "Work," said Kahlil Gibran, "is love made visible."

from The Painter's Keys

Yesterday, Halloween, I applied for early Social Security benefits and am curious to see if I can simplify my life enough to live on that. There is something of the excitement of graduating from high school. The working at a job part of my life may well be over, but there is still work to do.

Is the cat working or playing, or something else?

This morning I Iooked up from my laptop at 8:20 a.m. and realized that the sun still hadn't appeared over the foothills to the east. I noticed a flock of geese flying across the sky above where the sun would appear. Picking up my camera, I went out on the porch to make a video. Gradually it occurred to me that because daylight savings time extends so far into fall, sunrise on November 1st looks very much like sunrise on the winter solstice. Daylight Savings Time ends this year on November 6. Makes me wish I lived in Arizona or Hawaii, where there is no Daylight Savings Time. If you look closely, you will see the geese flying across the morning sky in V-formation.


Anonymous said...

while half the country rails against all things government, i must say the experience i had with the ss office was absolutely tops. courteous, efficient,attentive. of course i like the post office too. kjm

am said...

My Halloween experience in our small town Social Security office was somewhat surreal. There was a large sign on the front door saying that weapons were prohibited. There was a small foyer with a bulletin board inside the door. When I entered the next door to the left, there was a computer screen with a question with three possible answers. It said that a person could not go any further without answering. I'm a person who becomes easily bewildered by protocol. None of the answers seemed to apply to me. There was no one to ask for help. I guessed at an answer, and the computer gave me a number to wait in line. I was the only one in the waiting area of at least a dozen rows of seats. I sat down in the first row. There was an official-looking man with a closely shaved head about my age sitting behind a high desk to the left and in front of the empty seats. He looked up but did not greet me as I walked into the small nearly empty room. He looked uncomfortable. In front of me was a large TV screen presenting images of Alaska. Above the screen was another screen that showed three numbers, one of which was C45. My number was C46. The other numbers must have been for Social Security Disability. To my right were four numbered windows with what appeared to be bullet-proof glass. There were two clerks and two people being helped before me. As I sat there, an older couple entered the room and were also not greeted by the man at the high desk. Both the man and the woman smiled broadly at me and said hello and then sat down behind me.

My number came up within 5 minutes. A kind and cheerful clear-eyed young man wearing a shirt with an Army camouflage pattern along with blue jeans greeted me through the thick glass window. He asked a few simple questions, entered my answers into the computer, and printed out a sheet instructing me that I had a telephone appointment with a Social Security representative on the following day at 3 p.m. I though that was a little odd.

The next day at about 3 p.m. the phone rang. Because of my previous job working at home, I have caller ID. The number was local and did not say that it was from the U.S. Government. I answered it anyway, and heard a young woman's voice identifying herself as a representative from Social Security. When I asked why the caller ID didn't identify her as being from Social Security, she became very brusque with me, asking if I would like to reschedule my appointment. She said, "I don't know how to explain any better than I already have that I am from Social Security." I was just curious. It wasn't that I wanted to start an argument, but I could hear in her voice that she was on the defensive. I assured her that I did not want to reschedule my appointment, and we went forward with the application process.

Part way through the application process, I asked her where she was calling from. She said "Alabama." I thought that was odd because the caller ID showed a Bellingham phone number. She said that there had been some problem with the phone system, and that she couldn't explain why my caller ID showed the number that it was showing.

To my surprise, at the end of the application questions, she told me I that would receive my first Social Security check next week.

Curious again, I asked where she was in Alabama. She said that she wasn't in Alabama, but that she was on Alabama Street in Bellingham (-:

Now I'm really curious as to why there are clerks in the Social Security office in on Alabama Street who only have contact with applicants by telephone. For their protection? Was that the reason for prominent sign about not carrying weapons?

And how many people, waiting for a call from the U.S. government, would not answer a call from an unidentified caller, and then have to go through the process of rescheduling their appointment because they "weren't available" when the Social Security representative called.

It all worked out, and it was surreal.

am said...

I went beyond the word limit. Here's a little more:

Thanks for your comment, kjm. Did they proceed with the application process in the office rather than sending you home for a telephone appointment? Now I am even more curious about my experience yesterday and the day before.

I am fond of the Bellingham post offices and their employees (-:

And have not forgotten the kindness of the women working for the U.S. government at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California.

The Solitary Walker said...

Well, that's Halloween for you ;)

Calm, calm, calm. Now, that's better! Namaste. SW

am said...

Solitary Walker -- Thank you for your calming presence and sense of humor!

I forgot that this, too, is part of my Camino.

Namaste (-:

Anonymous said...

That's quite a surreal social security story. I was on hold yesterday for 39 minutes waiting for California DMV to talk to me. In the beginning of the "hold" the recorded voice told me I could choose to have DMV call me, and that I would not lose my place in the hold system. For some reason I didn't take that option. It would have been interesting to see where they would call me from. For 39 minutes I heard the same few bars of a song, over and over. I think they were intentionally trying to make me lose my mind or my patience.

I persevered. I'm glad you did too.

Loren said...

I tried to apply for Social Security online and got to the last question and the program froze. I went to a Tacoma office and had to wait for quite awhile, but once inside everything went smoothly. They even had my completed form online. It hadn't been erased, it just needed a final push.

I wonder if the phone lines are an attempt to "modernize," i.e. lay off workers. I'm also assuming that more and more people are applying online, which might explain why so few people were in the office itself.

Hopefully you have some other retirement or you will have to live very, very frugally.

am said...

robin andrea -- Perseverance furthers (-:

I keep books by my phone now, expecting to be put on hold for long periods of time.

Loren -- Frugal living is my future. Fortunately, I own my condo. No house payments. Am looking into all the ways I can live simply. Will certainly need to find part-time work. I do have some savings, too, but otherwise I am on my own and curious how this will all turn out. I can hear the Traveling Wilburys singing, "It's all right, we're going to the end of the line."

I am finding myself gravitating to the pattern I had, before I took the transcription job in March of 2010, that of waking up early for reading and writing on the internet. I enjoyed reading your "Why blog?" Blogging stimulates the creative process in all aspects of my life, too.

The odd thing was that the young woman was calling from the office I visited. Maybe their logic in setting up a phone appointment was that they were guessing I probably didn't want to drive to the office again.

I had pictured the U.S. government trying to save money by having clerks work at home making phone calls. Certainly the online process does allow them to lay off workers.