Friday, September 27, 2013

Norm or Anomaly?

Today I went to the MA tax office to pick up some forms.   There used to be a filled rack of the forms outside of the customer service window. The rack was there when I arrived, the forms were not. I waited over 20 minutes for the one woman behind the one window to deal with a man who seemed to be asking a simple question.  I spent time calculating the percentage of my income that goes to pay for state services. When it was my turn I said, "All I need are the income tax forms."  This, I was told, was no problem. She retrieved the forms for me. "Why" I asked "are the racks that are supposed to contain the forms empty?"  "They're empty" she said "because when we left the forms out for people to take, people would take them."  Norm or Anomaly?

Before I went to the MA tax office I went to pick up the federal tax forms from the IRS located in a different building downtown.  There the forms were on the racks. I picked the ones I needed. I asked the attendant where the MA tax office was. He pointed to a sign on his desk. Apparently, this question has been asked before. The well worn hand printed card read: Directions to Mass Department of Revenue: Exit front door onto Cambridge Street.  Nothing else was on the card. When I pointed this out to the attendant, he looked at the note and laughed. No directions on the Directions card. Norm or Anomaly?

On Wednesday I had a 5 pm flight to NY on the shuttle, so called because the carrier flies every hour on the hour from Boston to NY.  Just before 3 I received a call from the airline telling me that the 5 was cancelled. The recorded voice apologized for the inconvenience in a voice that sounded like she wasn't too sad about it. I was told I could call an 800 number to change the flight. Made the call. I could get on the 4 if I could make it to the airport on time, otherwise the next flight that was not booked was the 7. The 7 does me little good. I need to make the 4.  I race to the airport and am ready to park at 330. The parking lot, however, is filled. No spots. A fellow at the entrance to General Parking tells me, as if he has been coached to be pleasant but he just can't help being a sourpus, that I "need to go to Economy Parking sir."  Economy Parking is the code word for the lot that instead of charging an arm and a leg to park overnight, only takes the arm up to the elbow.  To save the money, however, and retain a portion of your appendage one must drive to Nebraska and park in the Economy lot. Then you need to take a shuttle bus back from Nebraska. The shuttle bus is driven by the kind of Mr. Happy you would be if all you did was drive a bus around in circles for 8 hours a day listening to people squawk. The shuttle busses are programmed to stop at every stop in the airport and to make sure to hit each pothole along the way. I cannot imagine I will make the 4 oclock flight.  This becomes almost a certainty because when I get to the Economy Lot there are no spots in it as well.  The simpleton cousin of the sourpus who told me to go to the Economy lot tells we surly drivers to line up so that he can take our keys and plate numbers. He will valet park our cars.  Speed is not this fellow's strong suit.  It is after 4 when I get on the pothole-local shuttle bus.  I don't get to the terminal until 415.  However, I make the 4 pm shuttle. How? I make it because the 4 pm has been delayed over an hour due to whatever happened to be the reason for incompetence du jour such that the 4 does not leave until 5.  Norm or Anomaly?

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