An update on my quest for the Grail, the Grail being the unemployment benefits I believe I'm entitled to as a result of my part-time job being eliminated.
Last week's episode in this saga saw your hero calling the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to " refile " for benefits. That's what the referee ( He wasn't wearing a striped shirt ) told me to do at the end of my hearing two weeks ago. The first time I called I got a recording that kept repeating itself. I heard and understood the English version. Then it started saying ( I assume ) the same thing in Spanish, Ukranian, Laotian, Farsi and some other language I've never heard of. Probably a language spoken on some other planet.
After that I was placed on hold for twenty five minutes. I finally got to speak to someone ( She spoke English ) She asked me for my social security number, then uttered two words I did not want to hear:
" Hold please. "
I was on hold for about ten minutes when I heard a weird beeping sound. It took me a minute to realize that my call had been dropped. The next thing I did was call something called NetWORK RI. It's an outfit that " helps " people who find themselves in my position. I explained to the guy what I was trying to do, refile.
" Oh, that's easy, " he said. " Just go to the DLT's Cranston office. You talk to someone there; it won't take but a few minutes. "
" You don't call or go online? " I asked.
" No. Refiling's gotta be done in person. At the Cranston office. "
I thanked him. Drove up to Cranston this morning after putting some gas in the car. A gallon of regular cost me $3.10. It's a 45 minute drive. Cranston's almost in Providence. I found the place pretty easily. The office is in the same complex as the state mental hospital. I think there's a reason for this, and I'll get to that...
I found a parking spot. Collected the paperwork I brought with me and walked towards the DLT office. I passed some people on my way there. They looked kind of frustrated and confused. I hoped they were mental patients and not people who'd just walked out of the place I was about to walk into.
I walked into the DLT building. There was an information/security desk there. Three guys were sitting behind it. I walked up to the desk. The guys gave me a look like the look on that kid's face. The kid in Deliverance. The one on the porch, playing the banjo.
" How y'all doing? " I asked.
The guys looked at me like I just asked them what the square root of 189 is.
" I'm here to refile for unemployment benefits, " I said.
One of the guys says back: " Ya have to do that by phone, we don't take walk-ins here. "
" But I..." I started to say. Then said screw it. Ain't worth it. I said " Unbelievable. " Then I said thank you.
Then I walked over to the state hospital and signed myself in.
I made that last part up. Everything else is, unfortunately true.