Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome to City Hall: Please Press 1 for Dr. Kevorkian

For me, there is no better time to hate on city hall employees than a three day weekend that I am forced to work. With Monday being MLK, Jr. Day, and me having spent the entire day in my cubicle trying to telekinetically move an avocado, let's not waste another minute.

A good part of my job involves having to request information from city and town halls all over the state. Below is a transcript of every city hall conversation I have ever had:

Recorded Message: Welcome to the City of ______ . Due to our website not being updated since the original launch of the Internet, you are calling to obtain basic information. Please press 1 for the City Clerk, 2 for the Building Department....
90 Year Old Woman: Good afternoon, Building Department.
Me: Hi, I was just trying to find out where to get a copy of a building permit application?
90 Year Old Woman: A building permit application? Hey Marge? Do we do building permits here? Oh, no, you need the Zoning Department. 
Me: But this is the Building Department and I need a building application.
90 Year Old Woman: Yes, I'll transfer you. 
80 Year Old Woman: Good afternoon, Zoning Department. 
Me: Hi, I'm trying to get a copy of a building permit application?
80 Year Old Woman: Why would I have a building permit application? No, honey, you need to call the Building Department.
Me: I did. They just sent me to you.
80 Year Old Woman: Perfect, I'll transfer you.
Recorded Message of 90 Year Old Woman: Welcome to the City of _____ Building Department. Our office hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Please leave a message. 
Me: {Dead from telephone cord strangulation}
No matter what question you have for a particular department, it is guaranteed that they will have no idea what you're talking about. If you ask the City Clerk about a marriage certificate she'll transfer you to the DPW. Looking for the dog officer? Ask the Town Planner a few questions, he'll get you there. Need to check your property taxes? The Assessor will gladly transfer you to Meals on Wheels. It never fails. Perhaps, in some kind of Jack Nicholson/The Shining kind of way, it has to do with town offices being located inside creepy abandoned elementary schools. Perhaps it's because most of the employees can remember watching first run episodes of Leave it to Beaver. Or maybe it's just the fact that they get every single holiday off and are milking their cushy jobs for all they are worth. Don't even get me started on Evacuation and Bunker Hill Days if you hit the God damned lottery and work in Suffolk County.

Whatever it is that makes you do the things you do, City Hall, just remember that I hate you. And if you're me.

Closed for Arbor Day