There was no line to get into the Social Security Administration office, which was unusual. The security guards, the same ones I have seen each time I have paid a visit, do everything but frisk us. Luckily, my weapons and belt were at home. The government issued walls were gray, seats for 100 people were tucked in tightly. The saying, snug as a bug, came to mind, with bug bolded and underlined. Windows around the perimeter served as some of the meeting space for Social Security workers and their clients. Windows had thick plexiglass strips about every five inches. I imagined it kept someone from jumping through and throttling the staff.
When the case manager called our name, we followed through the door into the bowels of SSA. She did not speak, but expected us to follow. She was an older woman, whose demeanor seemed unpleasant. She showed us where to sit, and then she walked through another locked door to come around behind the plexiglass window to her desk.
About an hour and a half later, we were armed with new information to research for the case worker. We were ready to leave when she started talking about her part-time hours at SSA. She explained that she was in school so it may take longer for her to review our case. Within minutes, the woman shared that she had real aspirations of becoming a lawyer and working with war veterans, a passion of hers. Slowly, a glimmer of a person shone through the rough exterior we had seen up until then. She shared that she was from Seattle. Ryan casually asked about what team she supported; this was days after the Seahawks won an incredible football game against our Carolina Panthers.
It was as if a door opened, and a new woman came out to talk with us; one who was the biggest Seattle Seahawks fan on the East Coast. She instantly looked ten years younger, her smile appeared and we were regaled with stories about the 12th Fan, her paraphernalia and her experiences sitting in other teams' cheering sections, ready to pull out her Seahawk gear at the right time.
This unexpected connection with the case manager changed our mood considerably. We knew with certainty that this woman, who showed us strength, passion and excitement, would read our file and resolve the issue. In favor of us or not, she would dedicate the time and energy needed to follow our complicated case. This was all we had wanted all along, and it seemed we finally had someone to do just that.
And, yes, we cheered on the Seahawks on Superbowl Sunday.
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