Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bureaucracy, Israeli Style-or- How do People Who Work Manage?

I have yet to figure out how people who work full-time manage. I do not work full-time, yet I do not sleep enough. In addition, I am constantly behind in my lists of “things I want to do”. [Although, as I frequently have pointed out to friends and relatives: An intelligent, creative person has a major problem: They can think up good ideas and projects much faster than they can carry said projects out….] I could easily consider myself at least part-time employed, as the adaptations and homework for Ricki easily take (on the average) a few hours each day. [One of the reasons for this is because I am not working in my mother tongue, which slows me down considerably.]
But when one has a steady job, who does all the zillion and one tasks that bureaucracy turns into terrific time drains????

Last week I had to go to the health fund’s office (non-Israelis see the start of this post for elucidation) in order to get a voucher for Ricki’s upcoming eye surgery. Now understand that every office in Israel is open at different hours. Some work 9-1, and then reopen from 4-7, others work straight through from 9-5. Some are agile and workaholics, opening at 8:00, other places and stores open at 9:00 or 10:00. The post office is closed on Tuesday afternoons, the bank on Wednesdays, and optometrists are usually closed on Sunday afternoon. (Sunday being a regular workday here.) Some places are open on Friday morning (Friday being a half-day workday); others are not.
So I decided to be smart. I checked the health-fund’s booklet, and was pleased that it was open at 2:00 on the day I wanted to go. I went, and a sign on the locked entranceway informed me that the hours had been changed. Tough luck and an entire hour was shot just like a slap on the face.
Just try and go shopping for a list of ten things. I had a morning I scheduled for “errands” last week. I prepared the money, the papers, and figured out the best order in which to trek from one store to the next.
I took a bus up a big hill to my first stop (better to work going down the hill than up, my lazy side had decided). The first store was closed; they were on vacation. At my second stop, I purchased everything I had on my list from that store, except for one item that they were temporarily out of. My third stop, was, amazingly an astounding success. At the fourth place they said that they no longer carry the item I was looking for; I should try at store “Y” (no guarantees though), this store of course being located back up the hill near stop number one. So I sweated up (36 degrees centigrade, humidity 65%) the hill, only to be told in said place of business, that she could not and would not order the item in question. Then I went as fast as I could to reach my next-to-the -last stop, the post office, There the line was huge. [Do I stay in line, and finish so late that I will have no time to reach the pharmacy (last destination)? Or should I go to the pharmacy and then have to return another day to the post office?] I opted to stay in line at the post office, to pick up the book I was expecting, and had a receipt for. {Much more enticing to get a book than some medicine….) After standing in line (there being 2 seats for twenty people ) my turn arrived. She pointed at two letters scribbled on the bottom of the receipt. “It’s true that they should have sent the package to our branch, as they always do, but for some reason they sent it to the branch in XXX neighborhood. The sorting office has summer help, so someone new must have botched up.” She gave me a phone number to call, to have the package sent to her branch, or I could take a half-hour bus ride to the other branch. Sum total: I spent one morning dragging myself through the streets in the ferocious heat, and only accomplished about one-half of my errands.
On arriving home, I called the number I had been given of the sorting office. I started to tell my tale, and got hung up on. So the next day, I went across town. But,No….the package was not there, it had been sent back to the sorting area, someone realizing that it was not destined for anyone living in that area. Five days later the package resurfaced, and I thankfully was able to retrieve it.
So, tell me, how do people who work manage?


Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

wow, sounds like you had a really busy crazy day.

Batya said...

that's why offices don't get anything done, the workers are doing their errands.

Anonymous said...

When Hubby and I were first married, we didn't like the lifestyle of a family with two employed parents. We have chosen not to do that. Barring hiring nannies and servants, I can't help but think they just live differently than me. I would be way too stressed in that lifestyle. I still have too much to do, and things take longer than I plan, often. But I won't trade the stress for the income.

I would have given you a blog award today, but you just got the same one from someone else. My compliments on your blog, and that was a great photo of Ricki yesterday. Barbara

Awesome Mom said...

That is crazy! It sounds like it is a full time job just to run errands.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Rickismom,
Do you know aoc gold?

This person just left 2 poems on Terri's site.

rickismom said...

No, I don't. And if someone wants to publish poems, they can put up their own site, thank you! I like poems, but this person is posting stuff with no connection to my content, and some of it with overtones I do not like. I have deleated his stuff from here, but if he continues I may have to do content moderation.