Tuesday, September 22, 2009

waiting in line

Over the last few weeks, I've been spending a lot of time in government offices. Around here, that means a lot of 1970s architecture, long, white, musty hallways, taking a number and waiting in endless lines. I went to file for my seller's permit at the State Board of Equalization.

I half-listened to a man at one of the help windows agitatedly explaining that they had shut down the work site in question and approximately 2.5 cell phone conversations of the woman next to me that went something like this:

Woman: Hello? No, he's in a meeting right now. Can you call back in 20 minutes? He's in a meeting. That's right. Please call back later.

While wondering why she bothered to even answer the phone, I was saved from listening to more similar conversations when my name was called. I walked up to the window and slid the seller's permit form under the glass to the woman who was helping me. For several minutes, she read my form and I sat there. I started to get bored and then my eyes caught on the label proclaiming that the glass to be bulletproof.

I don't know about anyone else, but this made me feel vaguely uneasy. I know people get upset at government offices and such, especially when taxes, rules, and other issues are involved, but I hadn't exactly thought about someone deciding to shoot up the office. As I was considering this, the clerk began asking me a bunch of questions.

"Have you filed a DBA (doing business as)? Are you going to? How about a business license? Hey, don't be so serious! You're about to make money!"

That cracked me up.

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