Ineptitude and the paddy wagon

Chair in a room

If I'm being really honest, paperwork does not come naturally to me. I enjoy big picture ideas. I am not so good with details. Finer points, such as the colour of my toothbrush, often evade me. I generally am only made aware of my ineptitude in such matters when the senior recipe tester walks into the bathroom and gets hysterical. I have no idea how many times I have used his toothbrush without his knowing. Fortunately, neither does he.

I was recently forced to deal with a large government department; the one with which we must all deal, often just after the end of June. I received a letter. I was not entirely prompt with my reply, but I did reply. And not only did I reply, I paid my dues as requested. Breathing a sigh of relief, I put the letter away.

I received another letter. This time I was informed I was overdue in my response. The letter included a warning that there would be some serious consequence if I failed to act. Remembering with some self-congratulation that I had responded as requested, I felt compelled to phone them up and crow about my accomplishment.

The person to whom I spoke was both personable and helpful. She could see that I had paid. But the paperwork was MIA, courtesy of another large government department whose function is to take things from one place and deliver them to another. Apparently. It was simply a matter of completing the paperwork online and resubmitting it. My public self chirped that that would be simple indeed. My private self wondered, "Simple for who?"

I was now left with having to access the government department online. This requires a password. It also requires a username. Predictably, I had not the first clue of either.

Such departments are built with people like me in mind. Included on the website was a button to press if you had forgotten your username. I pressed it. I entered my details as requested and was informed I had been sent an SMS. I waited. And waited. I made a cup of tea and waited some more.

I tried the button requesting the system to email me my details. I waited again. I then received a message: "If you do not receive an email, please try again."

It was time to take matters into my own hands. I emptied the filing cabinet and found a scrap of paper with a code written on it. I was more shocked than anyone when I was given access to the system. I read several tomes of help pages to find the page I needed and completed the paperwork online. I clicked submit.

I received a message. "We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later."

In the distance I can hear the sound of the paddy wagon being warmed up. I expect that I will next write to you from inside a cell. I would appreciate it if someone would bring me some dinner.

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