Well, if I had any doubts about the merits of private industry versus the guv, well, they're gone.
I lost my wallet in Oroville California last week. I was there for a week-long gig, complete with alcohol, free meals, and a jacuzzi in my room. Aah... good times. Where was I? Oh yeah, lost my wallet. Hard to imagine, with my laser-like focus and all. Speaking of which... Oohh, pretty lights.
Well, I searched high, I searched low, I searched some ladies underwear... But didn't find my wallet. First time I've ever lost my wallet. It sucked.
So, I got back to Vegas. Called up my credit cards, and explained the situation. All was good, nobody had tried to access my accounts. We closed the accounts and opened new ones. All it took was some personal info, which was rather easy to provide. They were extremely polite, and even a little sympathetic. Then I went to the bank, closed that checking account, and opened a new one. Again, very polite, very nice, just asked me a whole bunch of questions.
Then I went to get a copy of my driver's license. First, I had to wait two hours in line before I could even talk to anybody. Then, the person listened to my situation, and called up on her computer my driver's license. I could see the copy of it there, with my pic. She asked me for my birth certificate and Social Security Card. I explained to her that I didn't have my birth certificate, as it was being used to get me my Passport (you have to mail off your birth certificate, and it comes back to you with the Passport when you're done). She looked at me and said "Well, show me your passport." I tried to explain that I didn't have it. I said "Look, I can tell you my driver's license number, my SS number, my birthdate, my height, weight, eye color, and mother's maiden name. You can see my picture right there."
She said "Sorry, without proper authorized documentation, I can't help you." I said I could show her a rental agreement, car deeds, utility bills. Nope. No interest in helping me.
If there were competing industries, then she'd have to be nicer, or lose my business. Had my credit cards given me that kind of hassle, I would've cancelled my account. But since it's the government, they don't care. They don't have to.
Lucky for me, my passport ended up coming in, so I was able to get my Driver's License replaced. After waiting another few hours in line at the DMV.
Anyway, I'm off to Houston soon. The Great City of... Crap, you know, I wish that Austin were the one offering me all the jobs. Nothing against Houston, but it's rather low on my list of places I want to be in Texas. Austin? Hell, yeah! DFW? Perhaps. Corpus Christi? Cool. Houston? Well, it's better than Abilene.
Have I already told you all how I'm in love? Yup. I found my soulmate. It's Grace Park, from Battlestar Galactica. Or any of the myriad robot character she plays. I don't care. I'm proposing, man. I'll even get down on one knee. The view is good there, too. Damn, but she's a hottie!
What do you mean, I'm shallow?
Well, I'm off to get errands run. Talk to you all soon, probably after my first cruise is done!