Thursday, September 20, 2007

I seldom blog about my Day Job, but an exchange a few minutes ago just begs to be repeated.

Among a few hundred other responsibilities, my organization puts uniformed security officers out on the streets to offer assistance to the public. Often that assistance comes in the form of addresses and directions, especially on weeks like this when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in Manhattan just a half-mile from my office. The officers are linked by radio, and I usually keep one ear tuned to our office unit to monitor what's happening out on the streets. Let's listen in, shall we?

OFFICER: I need directions to the South American consulate.

ME: ** ears perk up**

SUPERVISOR: The South American consulate? One moment.

ME (after making mad dash to the radio in an effort to stop the looming embarrassment): Hold on! Did you say 'South American' consulate?

OFFICER: Ten-four.

ME: There is no South American consulate, copy? South America is a continent, with about fifteen countries in it. Each of those countries has a consulate, but the entire continent doesn't have one. Copy?

SUPERVISOR (who obviously hasn't heard me): Okay, the address is 333 East 38th Street. Copy?

OFFICER (who is either choosing to ignore me, or doesn't know what a continent is): Copy. That's 333---

ME: That's the South African consulate. Is that what you meant? South African?

OFFICER: South American. So that's 333--

ME: South America is not a country!

SUPERVISOR: Let me give you that address again. 333 East 38th Street...

That's when I gave up.

Then again, anyone who was stupid enough to ask for the address of the South American consulate in the first place deserves to end up wherever the morons sent them.