Tuesday, June 01, 2010

America...land of the scared shitless

Went to the SS office today to order a new SS card as I lost mine over 10 years ago. While waiting in the lobby, my wife calls me on my cell phone. I answer and start talking to her. The security officer comes over and tells me that I can't talk on the cellphone in the lobby and I need to go outside if I want to continue the conversation. I hang up.

It comes my turn to actually meet with a SS employee, I am polite, but not talkative. She starts asking me about my weekend, where I went, why the conference I went to was over Memorial Day, etc. This, of course strikes me as odd because I have not noticed any of these people (including her) carrying on this kind of conversation with anyone who has gone before me. Again, I am polite, but not real forthcoming.

I ask her why you can't use cell phones in the lobby. She looks quizzical and says she doesn't know why. She then offers a possible reason...people might get distracted (from what?? the stunning interior of a federal building?). I tell her that there are no signs posted about no cell phone use in the lobby. She pauses and says, yes there is one by where I had to get a number (to wait in line to see her).

On the way out, I notice the sign she is talking about. It is one of those that someone prints off of a PC, about 8.5 X 11 that has a cell phone with a crossed-circle over it. It is barely noticeable. There is another, similar sign that indicates that you cannot take any photos in the building either.

Now, let's see...who paid for the construction of that building? Oh, that's right we did. So who owns that building? Oh that's right, we do. So we pay for and own a building where we can't use a cell phone and take pictures of the interior (as stunning as it is) and the people who work there don't know why we can't use the cell phone to talk to anyone. I figured if I ask why we couldn't take pictures, I would end up in hand-cuffs for asking too many questions.

America, once the land of the free, now land of the scared shitless and suffocatingly regulated.

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