Is it just because I was teaching Kafka last week that I keep having these Kafkaesque experiences? Or is it the state of our civilization?

Example A: I needed to make an appointment with my primary care doctor, so I went to the website to make an appointment online. I received the message that I am not “certified” for booking online, though I have done so before. So I tried to find the hours during which I can call to make an appointment, and saw this information: “Call our office to find our current opening hours.” I did, and got a recorded message: “We are currently closed. Please call back when the office is open.” Click. I felt like Joseph K.

Example B — and this one’s a doozy: At Baylor we’re all doing weekly covid tests, which is a very good thing, and we’ve been sent emails that link to a webpage where we are told “Go to this page and fill out the form to sign up for a time.” So I went to the page and discovered that all of the times, forever, are “not available.” Hmmm. I tried the page in different browsers, on different devices: same result everywhere. I wrote to our HR department to tell them what happened and ask how I am supposed to book a test. Five days later I got an email message asking me to log into our new “portal” to find my answer. The answer, as it turned out, was just an email, but an email that they make you go to the portal to read. So let’s recap: They send me an email telling me that I have am email that I cannot read in my email client but must log into a “portal” to read.

Okay then. I read the reply, and it said, “Go to this page and fill out the form to sign up for a time.” That is, whoever replied to me copy-pasted from the webpage whose inaccurate information had led me to write in the first place.

So I made a phone call. Wait, hold, transfer, etc. Explained the situation to a new person. She said, “The message you received gave you inaccurate advice, I’m really sorry.”

… Okay. So it’s not just me, nobody can book a covid test on that page?

“That’s right.”

So maybe you all should delete that page and correct the website, don’t you think?

“I’ll make a note of that. Can I do anything else to help you?”

Yes, you can tell me how to book my weekly covid test.

“Oh, you don’t have to book it, you can just walk in.”

February 13, 2021

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