I’ve spoken before in one or more of my pieces, about the fact that a major thoroughfare running through the city in which I live, has gone through periods where the lights were timed relatively well, and others when they’re horribly against the main flow of traffic.
It happens that I use that street to deliver my son to school. Recently, that’s meant I haven’t traveled that road, since first there was “home school” due to COVID-19; and that led directly into Summer vacation. The result is, it’s been months since I last drove the path in question, considering I rarely use it for anything else.
My son went back to school this week.
Initially I was told he would go two days a week. Right as he was getting ready to go back, I was informed he would be able to do four. More recently, I’ve been made aware he’ll be able to do all five weekdays—which speaks volumes about the supposed COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s not a matter for this writing.
Since initially I was told he would only have school Tuesday and Friday, I was surprised to get a message from his teacher that he could’ve gone to school on Monday. Because of how things worked out, he didn’t end up attending on Monday, but started on Tuesday.
That said, I drove him to school today (Friday), and found the traffic signals on that stretch of road to be badly timed again. As I sat behind the wheel, my mind drifted to other things. Though I wasn’t thinking horribly much about the trip, my brain—as it sometimes does—constructed a rather humorous train of thought that was a pretty direct result of the stop and go nature of the trek.
I came to think about how this was quite strongly symbolic of government intervention in just about every part of life.
One excellent example, is unemployment insurance. I worked until recently, as a contract employee. My contract ended as a result of a disagreement with the entity for whom I worked (a major telecommunications company), at the end of May. I had saved up some money while I was still employed, and was expecting to get paychecks from hours of toil for which I hadn’t yet been compensated.
As such, I waited to apply for unemployment insurance until sometime in early July. Looking back now, I can honestly say I should’ve known better. After all, the government is involved in the process, and I could have banked money I didn’t use.
The result is, as I say, I waited a month to file, then when I did, the filing “expired” because I was unable to make claims against it. “Why?” you ask. Because it’s entirely impossible to make “backdated claims” through the online system. You must call or go into the office. Red light number one.
Not realizing the entity handling claims was not taking calls, with nothing on either their website, or in their phone tree indicating that was the case, I spent another week trying to call their office to get things straightened out. Red light number two.
At the end of an unfruitful week, trying to call them to get them to create claims. I went to their office to handle things in person. Because I have an almost-eight-year-old Moderately Autistic son for whom, for various reasons at present, I’m the sole caregiver, I had to find someone to look after him when I went in. This was part of the reason I‘d been trying to call to begin with; that I knew I would have to have him watched if I went in to try to work things out.
I tried to visit the office on a Friday, only to find out that, unless you get there before nine o’clock most days, the chances are, you aren’t going to be seen at all. Red light number three.
The next week, I got up and out early on a Monday—no easy task, since my son was on Summer hours (meaning he was staying up late and getting up late)—dropped my son off at the house of the person acting as a sitter, and went back to the Unemployment office, arriving around eight thirty in the morning.
I waited to be seen that day until around two in the afternoon, standing outside in the sun because of their COVID-19 “protocol” until maybe one thirty. Red light number four.
On entering the actual office, the wait was relatively short, but when I got to talk to the individual about what I thought I was there to do, I was informed I didn’t show up in the system as having filed.
The person I talked to made it clear it was because the filing had occurred weeks earlier, with no claims having been made. I was told I would have to file for unemployment insurance again, and handed paperwork to do that by the person with whom I sat. Red light number five.
I asked the person who gave me the forms to refile unemployment, whether I would have problems filing claims after doing so, and he said categorically, “No.”
I filled out the necessary information, and handed it back to the folks outside the office, so I didn’t have to go in again.
Because this story is so long, I’m going to try to be terser.
I tried to file another claim and was told I couldn’t because I’d have to file backdated claims. Red light number six.
I went back to the office and stood in line again all day—most of it in the sun—after taking my son to the one sitting him. Red light number seven.
I got inside on roughly the same schedule as before, and was told I had to decide how to file claims. I asked the person what I should do, he had me file a claim for the current week only. Red light number eight.
I received notice that no decision had been made on my filing, so I couldn’t be paid. Red light number nine.
I’ve since received five more such letters over the next five weeks after creating claims. Red lights ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen.
To date, I haven’t gotten a penny from my unemployment filing or claims. Red light number fifteen.
You may say the government deals reasonably with those trying to work with it. I tell you that, I paid into this system, and cannot take out of it, even after fighting to get them to acknowledge me at all. You’ll forgive me if I see government as a set of lock-step, horribly inefficient entities (and for more reasons, and more cases than this); if you haven’t read this piece, you probably won’t fully understand why. When you have, you should.
Thanks for reading and may your time be good.