Thursday, July 24, 2008

When your child gets a certified letter, what do YOU do?

There are two places where the employees of the establishment feel no necessity in making confidential or personal information unknown to the masses waiting: The pharmacy and the post office.

Today's post is about the post office.

Today I had to go to the post office to pick up a certified letter to my 17-month old son (yes, that’s correct, I’m not making this up). I wasn’t sure how I was going to get the letter from the clerk since it wasn’t addressed to me, and Mateo couldn’t sign the notice saying I was his agent and could pick it up for him, so I did what I’ve done in the past for checks written out to him; I signed his name, then “minor by,” then signed my name. The space I had to do this in was extremely tiny, and even I had a really hard time reading what I wrote when I looked at it again.

If it came down to it, sure, I would bring my baby in, but he certainly doesn’t have an ID, so they’d have to just assume I wasn’t making it up. I could bring the school-issued “emergency” picture ID of him. But he looks like a wild boy in the picture and slightly lost and even more confused, and I’m not sure they’d believe the child in the picture was him.

When I got to the counter, the clerk took the notice, barely looked at the side where I had to sign, walked to the cabinet where the "to be picked-up" mail is held, and began sorting through all the envelopes until he found the one address to my son.

He brought it back to the counter and said, “Oh, Kaiser! They must want to get a hold you pretty badly!” And yes, everyone could hear him.

I mean, come on. Who does that? Sure, he has every right to open sealed packages and rummage through them, looking for bombs and guns and illegal drugs, but why did he have to make an announcement of how a giant in the health care industry really wanted to get a hold of me*.

You might be thinking, so what, who cares, no one knows who you are. But what I was thinking was, Ohmygod, everyone’s going to think I’m some deadbeat who doesn’t pay her bills. But I do! Yes, on occasion, I have been known to forget, and I pay the required late payment, beat myself up mentally at spending money on something so stupid, but didn't I just write a post about how I paid Comcast TWICE, which certainly proves to me I'm a wonderful bill payer. Why else would Kaiser be sending out certified mail? Unless they were telling me I was dead or dying. And even then, that’s pretty cold.

Then the clerk noticed the envelope wasn’t addressed to me, per se (it was addressed as “To the parents of….,” which I would think means it is addressed to me, but how the heck does the clerk even know I’m the parent of this person? It’s all madness).

“Oh, you’re not the addressee,” he said.

Ah, my time for redemption, I thought. I’ll show you. No, I am not the addressee, because “Mateo” is clearly a male name (or so I think). And therefore, that means you shouldn’t be insinuating anything about me and how Kaiser really wants to get a hold of me and making all these random people waiting for their turn to be humiliated think I’m some loser who can’t pay bills!!!

“No, I’m his mother,” I said. “He’s only 17 months old.”

“Oh! Well, then. I’m sure they’re sending you a letter saying he’s going to grow up big and strong and healthy,” he told me.


The letter was not telling me we owed money and that Kaiser was sending goons after us, nor was it telling me Mateo was going to grow up big and strong and healthy (even though he will), but it was something totally unrelated to both. My husband even predicted the night before what the letter was about, and he was correct.

You’re dying to know, aren’t you? Well, I’m not telling.

*I’m now thinking, hindsight being 20/20 and all, that I should have said, “Oh! It must be about the Head of ER Physicians job I applied for!” because even though I hardly get carded anymore (but then again, I hardly go anywhere to be carded at, and I probably don’t look as young as I used to (thanks, Mateo)), I still do look a lot younger than I actually am, which confuses some people on occasion.

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