This one time at the SSN office…

On my fourth day of working in San Francisco I took a few hours in the morning to go and get my social security number (SSN)

Your social security number is quite important in the US.  The bank will ask you for it if you want to apply for credit, landlords will use it to do credit checks, you need it to get paid, Verizon won’t give you a North American long distance plan without it, and the list can go on and on.

Your SSN is pretty much like your Social Insurance Number except it’s asked a lot more frequently.  To get your SSN you need to apply for it in person.

A few days before I went to go get my SSN, I met up with a fellow Queen’s grad who has essentially become my SF guru the past 3-4 months.  When I told him that I needed to go get my SSN, he warned me that the area the SSN office was located was sketchy sketchy sketchy.  He also advised me to go as early as possible to avoid waiting there all day.

On the day I decide to go get my SSN, I took his advice to heart and woke up early so I can be there about 10 minutes before it opened.  I mapped out the place between my home and the SSN office at Mission and 7th St.  20 minute walk.  No big deal.  I can do this.

So I walk down Mission St and it’s a lovely day for a walk.  I have my iPod with me and just loving life bobbing my head to music.  I walk past 1st and 2nd.  Everything is still okay.  Walk by 3rd, see a nice church, life is dandy.

Around 4-5th Street, things start to get a tad bit sketchy.  There’s quite a number of crazies and homeless on the street.  I think they were having a party of some sort – a number of them just chilling together.  Typical for SF I’m sure but not for a recent Toronto expat.  Around this time, I put my iPod away and try to avoid taking any electronics out of my bag.  When I finally get to my destination, I’m in front of a huge government building.

And this is where my story becomes…

The day Leona goes into a government building with a Swiss army knife.

In my defense, I thought the SSN office would be more like a DMV and I also forgot I had that thing on me.  I’m used to having it on me for practical purposes such as if I needed a wine cork opener to pop a bottle of wine open, screw driver if something came unscrewed, toothpick if there was something in my teeth, or tweezers if I got a splinter.  Practical!

The SSN office has a security check similar to that of an airport.  But they only check two people at a time and everyone else has to wait outside.  While I’m waiting in line, I see the guards pull out a pair of manicure scissors from this woman’s purse and that’s when it dawns on me that I had my knife.

When it is my turn to be searched, before even putting my purse through the x-ray machine, I told the guard my situation.  He stares at me like I’m an idiot and rightfully so he should.

Ma’am you can’t bring that in here.

I know but can’t you like store it for me or something and I’ll come pick it back up?

I can’t do that.

Oh… so what should I do with it?

I can’t tell you what to do with it, ma’am, but there’s bushes and trees outside.  Just get it off the property.

Bushes and trees?!?!?!  Oh wait!  Is that a hint for me to hide it?

I decide to go and try to hide my army knife.  I leave the property and all around me is sketchiness.  The idea of losing my Swiss Army Knife which was my major souvenir from Berlin breaks my heart.  As I contemplated what to do, I find this decent looking restaurant near the government building.  They had shrubs as part of their decor in front of their restaurant.

DONE!  I throw my knife in one of their fake shrubs and go back to the building.

So I go back to the building and try my luck at getting my SSN again.  I’m going to stop my story here and continue it on my next post because at this point my story goes from being “the day Leona goes into a government building with a Swiss Army Knife” to “the day Leona learns that California has earthquakes“. Oy!

To be continued…

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    • kelsey
    • November 2nd, 2011

    Geeeshhh, way to leave me in suspense!! Your life stories Leona, are like a television sitcom!!

  1. November 4th, 2011

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