February 14, 2006

I rarely get short.

With the public, that is.

I really do take my responsibilities seriously, and I know full well who pays my way. So I do my best to go out of the way to be deferential to folks who land on my phone--most of the time, they've been bounced all over the place by people who don't really care to help them--so I do what I can. Which is what everyone should do, so don't think I'm bucking for a medal or anything, because I'm not.

Probably wouldn't get one anyway after this last call.

Young fellow calls up and tells me his name, and starts asking me about notes on a permit application that were written by someone else. The note basically asked the applicant to supply some more details about screening some rooftop antennas. I know about it, tangentially, because we do have to review it as well, but there's nothing to review until those details get submitted.

I listened to his brief explanation and then said, "Those are X's (not his real name) notes on there--you'll have to speak--"

"Well, it says we're supposed to contact you."


"Yes, you will need to speak to us later about the screening, but until you submit the details for it, there's really nothing for me to be able to review. It might turn out to be something that doesn't require any further review beyond me, but you're going to have to submit those details to X before any review can be done."

"Well, just what kind of antennas are they? Radio? TV?"

At this point, I became a very bad civil servant, because even though he had that cocky, young, smart-alecky edge to his voice, and seemed to think it was my job to tell him what was on his own stinkin' permit application, it should not have come across in my voice.

With barely concealed ill-mood, "Sir, that is your permit--you submitted it to us. X has the application downstairs, and he's asking you for details. I don't have a copy of it, and I really can't explain what you need if you don't even know what the application is for."

That was so mean of me, and I realized it immediately, and tried to lighten up a little for the rest of the conversation. Of course, after my terse little lecture, he probably wasn't really receptive to a bit of chuckling, either--it may have made him feel even less capable. So, that was bad, too.

Sorry, young fellow.

But a word to the wise--next time, know what you're calling about.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at February 14, 2006 10:00 AM

I can see where you might be a bit testy what with seeing your flattened relatives each morning and evening commute.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at February 14, 2006 11:49 AM

I think it was actually more related to having to deal with Reba's mom about her golden anniversary party. If she keeps it up, I don't think I'm going to make it to my own 20th. Or 15th, for that matter.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 14, 2006 12:10 PM

Lee and I are coming up on 40. If you do good on your inlaw's, we may ask you to plan ours. Of course we'll only have your word for how it turns out.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at February 14, 2006 12:23 PM

Well, I can always cuss you out. That's much more difficult to do to Reba's mom.

Thankfully, I have a half hour in the morning and evening on the way to and from work where I am alone in the car. Although, other persons driving alongside might think I have someone else in the car, given the agitated manner in which I seem to be ranting.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 14, 2006 12:28 PM