Having spent the last 24 hours battling bureaucracy, I think it is time to update Murphy's Law.
Our grandson is trying to switch from a South African University to a Canadian one. Simple? As he's in the Southern Hemisphere, along with bath water running out the opposite way, the school year is also back to front.
Simple to fill in the forms, get transcripts and apply? His current university had student strikes last year, so the December exams were in February; the results late March. Still weeks to the April 30 deadline. Except the transcript office is closed till May 5 – not just closed but disconnected while graduation certificates are issued. They too are late, which explains the backlog.
Finally, he gets his informal transcript, which the Canadian University won't accept. After hours on hold (helicopter grandmother?), I get a woman who says they will accept the temporary transcript if faxed with a letter from the South African university. Email grandson and sit down with stiff drink.
Only problem now is they are seven hours ahead and a long weekend starts tomorrow. Frantic email from grandson: the university won't write the letter.
Stiff coffee and the phone again. Worse than tax time. Call overseas admissions, and get an unintelligible (from overseas?) voice. Hold till he comes back with a number for me to call. I write it down carefully. Then look at it. “This is your number. If I dial it, I will get you.” “Yes,” he replies, with an air of having solved everything.
Bill takes over and does a telephone slalom. Busy, out, away till 5 May, not allowed to act… Finally, a common sense individual who agrees to tag his file and add the transcript when it arrives.
So my amended Murphy's Law:
Whoever you need to speak to is out/on vacation/assisting other clients
If they are in a different time zone, it is one where everything is shut
When their offices open, yours are shut
A crisis always happens on a Friday, usually before a long weekend. This also applies with small children getting sick.
If you go to an advised website, the interface has been upgraded and doesn't match the instructions
If you need a computer program to do something useful, the app has been improved and your particular task discontinued, usually just last week
If you need info in a hurry from your computer, it announces proudly that it has improved your security and needs your password, which you have lost. You make a new password, which is rejected because it is too short, is already in use, doesn't have caps/numbers/you name it. When you finally get the info, the original site has timed out, taking with it all your info
The bright side is that my vocabulary is greatly enhanced, my character supposedly built and with luck the problem solving has reduced my chances of dementia.
But our grandson still hasn't got his transcript.
PS Murphy was an optimist!