Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our trip to the Social Security Office.

Last week, Dad decided that he was confused about a letter he received from Social Security. I don't want to go into a great deal of detail here about the letter or the issue. Suffice to say, it was regarding Mom's Medicare benefits. We had recently changed her insurance and so this made changes to her Medicare, she would be getting more money each month. I spent half a day on the phone getting answers about this letter and found out that it was nothing to be concerned about. But Dad wasn't satisfied with my explanation. He insisted that we go to the Social Security Administration offices. And since it was regarding Mom's account, she had to go along. Of course, it is impossible to get out of the house before noon. But this time, they were in rare form, we got to the place at 2pm.

As we sat there, Mom made what she thought were whispered comments about the people around her, but her whispered comments are in a stage whisper and in the range of comments that a small child might make. In other words, all of the self-censorship that we learn as children was missing, so she feels free to say things like, "Look at how fat that guy is, you think he gets tired pushing that belly around?" I just try not to be embarrassed for her.

After about 2 hours of waiting, a very young couple sat down. They asked me if we had been waiting long, they seemed eager to strike up a conversation. It turned out that they were newlyweds, just back from their honeymoon. Mom and Dad shared that they had been married for 62 years and the youngsters were amazed at that. The boy said, "I hope we will be married that long."

We continued to chat for a few minutes, then Mom did an amazing thing. She got up and in a conspiratorial way, she sat down next to the young bride and tried to force her to take Mom's two diamond rings. The girl was amazed and flustered, and the boy was clearly embarrassed. Dad howled in protest.

Mom said, "I can give these rings to who ever I want, I found them in an old house. They didn't cost me a penny."

Dad said, "I gave you those rings for our 50th anniversary. I bought them at Zales."

And so we went back and forth for about ten minutes, Mom insisting that the rings were essentially worthless and that she could give them away, Dad insisting that he would be very hurt if she did and the young couple insisting that it was far too generous a gesture. I tried to resolve the whole thing but no one was really listening to me.

Finally, the clerk called our number and as we were walking over to her window, Mom forced the rings into the hand of the young man. He then slickly passed them back to me and I put them into my pocket.

Once we got back into the car, I gave the rings back to Mom and she had already forgotten the whole event. Of course, Dad's feelings were hurt, so he wouldn't let it go. When we got home, he got out the receipt for the rings and showed it to Mom. She said, "Well, of course I wouldn't give something like that away."

The funny thing is, the clerk told Dad exactly what the people on the phone had told me. So the whole trip was unnecessary.