Thursday, June 09, 2005

Working the system

I had an appointment for blood tests today at 11:30 a.m.

It was inconvenient. It fell in the middle of a workday. My co-workers had to be out of the office for meetings around the same time. We'd have to close the office. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So I got up this morning and I worked the system. 'Cause I know how it works.

I showed up at the 'specimen clinic' (lovely, eh?) at 8:45 a.m. and took a number. The 8:30 rush was just over and the lunchtime rush hadn't started. The big electronic counter was at 197. I had number 199.

"One ninety-eight!"

"One ninety-nine!"

I sat in the chair in front of the processor. "I, uh, I know I have an appointment this morning," I fluttered. "I lost the letter." (This was a lie.) "I know it's this morning. I think it's at 9:30." (This was a Lie.)

"Oh, that's okay, love," said the nice lady. "It was at 11:30 actually."

"Oh," I said. "I'm sorry. Two hours off."

"Oh, that's not bad at all," she said.

"Not bad at all for me," I said. (That wasn't a lie.)

"No problem, we can take you right in," she said. And I was done and in my office by 9:15.

Half of me feels dead guilty about it. Half of me feels like you have to use what you've learned to navigate the system.

All of me feels like I don't know what to think about having this knowledge. Or having used it to my personal benefit.



Blogger Brent McKee said...

I'm with the half that says work the system if the system can be worked. What I don't like are the people who say "The system inconveniences me so let's throw the system out" as in the guy in the Supreme Court decision yesterday.

2:20 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find your ambivalence charming. You didn't take someone else's place or, as I understand the story, even cause the system any undue delays. If the receptionist had told you to go away and come back in two hours, you would have. Instead, a slot was available and you were there to fill it. By showing up in the gap between two rush periods, you probably even did the lab a favor.

Or perhaps that's what you can tell yourself as you lie awake at night, haunted by your ethical failings.


2:21 p.m.  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love that bro of mine.

Ignore him. Takes practice. :)

I think it's ingenious. Good for you! Of course, I have no ethics to be challenged.

1:11 a.m.  

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