Monday, July 23, 2007

blogging the help line

I'm on the phone with the passport information center again, and they've updated the recording since last week. That's nice. It now gives a whole bunch of information, like where you can travel without a passport (US territories) and where you can travel with ID and proof that you've applied for a passport (the Caribbean, etc.) They also have hold music now … at the moment, it's Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons." Not a bold choice, perhaps, but a popular one. The music gets interrupted rather frequently for more little announcements by Friendly Recorded Announcement Guy. It's kind of annoying, since the announcements are on a loop – it's the same three or four announcements over and over. At least they've added an estimate of your wait time, other than "greater than five minutes" or "three to five minutes." It said my estimated wait time was twenty minutes when I got on the line; now it's saying fifteen.

The announcements are very educational, though. Apparently US territories include Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and one other place that I can't understand the name of. It sounds like "Swain’s Island." ... Yup. According to wikipedia, "Swains Island is an atoll in the Tokelau chain, the most northwesterly island administered by American Samoa. Although culturally belonging to Tokelau, politically, it is a territory of United States of America. It has variously been known as Olosenga Island, Olohega Island, Quiros Island, Gente Hermosa Island and Jennings Island throughout its history. As of 2005, the population of the island was 37, all located in the village of Talauga in the west." Sounds nifty! Maybe I could go there instead of Grasmere, since I wouldn't need a passport to do so.

I'm starting to suspect that Vivaldi is on a loop as well – it's been, like, fifteen minutes, and we’re still on the same season.

Contact! My CSR for this round is "Gerri" (no idea on the spelling). Sounds like she has a northeastern accent of some kind. It also sounds like she's having trouble finding information on my application, which is making me VERY NERVOUS. (How many people with my SSN have applied for a passport, anyway?) I tell her I have a locator number, would that help? Yes, it would. She verifies my name and DOB. Aaaaand the verdict is ... "call back on Wednesday." Are we expecting something to have changed by then? According to Gerri, my passport is "almost ready." It won't go out today, but I should be able to get tracking information on Wednesday morning. I sincerely hope that’s true.


Heidi said...

OH, that would be a lovely little miracle for you!!! I do hope that it comes together at the end after all. I'd love to see you over here. :)

Octavia said...

Yeah, I'd love to see me over there too. I'll update again on Wednesday.