While filling out an application to work with the local theater arts group, I came to the CONTACT INFORMATION section. Under the main heading they had included a sub-heading reading Best way to Contact You. Never have I been faced with so many options for connection.
Jack in the Box
What was most interesting is the list did not include home phone. Do people not have land lines anymore? Good Lord, I’m getting so out of date I’m going to require regular dusting before too long.
Recently I read programs are in place to deprogram those high-tech individuals addicted to their devices. You know who you are. The symptoms, for those of you texting and playing on-line poker while reading this, may include checking your phone within 10 seconds of opening your eyes, and the last thing before you close them to sleep. Those individuals for whom every facet of their lives revolves around their devices, including creating alarms to keep them on track for appointments during the day. The ones often seen scaling a hedge carrying a running garden hose to catch an incoming call. Mentioned also were the compulsive, if not somewhat narcissistic, people who make an art form of personal picture taking. You find them posting endless personal poses on their social media pages ranging from flossing their teeth to having their callouses filed. It’s epidemic. Researchers were saying that rather than living the moment, we’re capturing it in a lens. Interesting.
My phone issues lean in the opposite direction Mine can often be found in a drawer. Late at night it wouldn’t be out of character for me to bury it in the back yard, or toss it out of the car window on the freeway. Anything to make it stop its incessant ringing. When we moved in this house I noticed there is a phone jack in the master bathroom, one place I draw the line. I do not want to speak to someone who is thus occupied on their end, nor would I choose to ask them to bear with me was I in the same position. Just me.
Face time draws you into a whole different dimension of phone communication. Days of answering the phone in your boxer shorts with bed head, or sipping on a glass of wine during a business conference call are behind us. Now you need to be fully dressed, makeup in place, and the house cleaned before considering engaging in a call.
Day before yesterday I needed to make several calls. Since we’ve moved I’ve alerted all the principal players in my life, banks, credit cards, magazines, insurance companies, etc. of our new location. Every time, however, I have gone into Social Security on-line to change my address for my Social Security Card, I’ve been denied access because according to their system the information I’m providing them is incorrect. Specifically, where I was born. Seeing no way to avoid waiting in the endless queue of a government phone system, I dialed the number and got the expected response. “Due to heavy phone volume you may expect an 11 minute wait. For quicker response please refer to our online site at www…”. Uh-huh. Sigh. I put the phone on speaker and went about making the batter for my fish. Thirty-four minutes later a gentlemen came on the phone. After explaining my situation, he pulled up my account. Once we established my SSN, DOB, and location he began with the security questions, four in total. Mother’s maiden name, check. First pet, check. Where you were born, not so fast. After answering the question with what I know to be correct, I was informed I was wrong. Okay. He suggested I pick another big city. Really? Could we narrow down to a country, or should I just start at the A’s?
I went and retrieved by birth certificate. Why I did this I have no idea. I know where I was born and it hasn’t changed since I arrived kicking and screaming in the delivery room. I repeated my answer and he repeated this was incorrect and to try again. In desperation I threw out, “um, New York City?”. I did not win the car. In the end he could not verify I was me, and I was beginning to doubt it myself, so I was instructed to visit my local social security office. Sigh and sigh.
Yesterday we got up early, had our coffee, and headed to the local SS office. Our goal was to arrive a half an hour before they were to open. This is not my first rodeo. Last time I had to avail myself of their services I went midday. I was number 175. They were calling number 46. Never again. This time I was 3. Yea. Should you have to go take every available piece of picture ID you’ve been issued since kindergarten. Guaranteed the one you leave at home is the one you’ll be asked for. In my case, being Canadian, I needed my birth certificate and green card as well. Everything was on a roll until she got to my green card. It seems you have to renew the damn things every 15 years. I was one year passed the limit. Ach. As a plus, it was determined although of Canadian Citizenship according to their records I was born in Long Beach, CA. This she attributed to CA also being the abbreviation for Canada. What more can I say here? Given a piece of paper with the location of the appropriate office in Sacramento, she suggested I arrive early. Got it.
The last time I changed my green card I was the first body in the lobby at the Canadian Consulate. I remained there until closing at 5:00 that night. The problem stems from my personal history. For me this is not new news. My father died when I was one. For the purpose of clarification, let’s call him Frank Williams. When I was nine Mother exchanged vows with Frank James who adopted me, changing her name and mine. So far it goes, Frank Williams to Frank James (refer to your chart and handouts). Taking the plunge for the third but not last time Mother became Mrs. James Martin. So we have Frank Williams to Frank James to James Martin in that order. It is, at best like trying to untangle a nest of horny water moccasins. Launching into the details of my marry-go-round got my last interviewer so confused I believe he assigned me a new card so he could go home and have a drink before dinner.
So, I may never be able to prove I am who I am. Who knows maybe I’m someone else and have only been kidding myself I’m me all these years.
This fish was lovely. Honest.
Beer Battered Tilapia
1 lb. tilapia filets
flour for dredging
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 cups ale
3 Tbsp. vinegar
Heat 2″ of oil in large heavy bottomed pot over med-high heat.
Cut each filet in half. Pat dry and dredge in flour.
Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, cayenne (optional), paprika, and black pepper. Slowly whisk in ale and vinegar until mixture is smooth.
Dip flour dredged pieces into batter with a fork allowing excess to slightly drain off. Drop into oil and cook until golden brown (about 3 mins. on each side). Drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce, malt vinegar and lemon wedges.