It was under Frances Perkins that the Social Security Act passed (by the Congress), during Roosevelt’s first term. I was thinking about this at that night, May 25, 2011. It is part of a “fancy fantasy” I had: if only I could grab her SSN or something…! I thought, man, there’s this schmucky Social Security Act between me and her.
I’d never seen her face, not before that accident. I was then mailed a nice but dark 7 x 4 inches picture of her feeding a Siamese cat. Even though I barely knew her face at the time, I think I could recognize her from distance if I saw her on the street. Shining as a ghost, they say: her tailored body against a soothing background.
Methinks I’ll never actually meet her; that was my dictum at the time. (Corporate schmucks say “meet with x”; but I say “meet x” simpliciter. I don’t mean an appointment, like something that happens to be on your schedule, know what I’m saying?) The problem is, as we exchanged mails and got to know each other very well, as if living inside a Bildungsroman, the fear of having to face her -and that of her seeing me- grew stronger and stronger. As a reader of Richard Mitchell I just love accuracy and stuff. It’s very odd. As the years go by, I get more and more control-freak as regards precision and one-to-one correspondence between sets and subsets of words and sets and subsets of things. And what I said in those letters means a lot to me. And to reality itself. I was never so true to myself and to the god of ‘precision revenues’ as I was then (as I am now, so to say). Some math freak would say love is a mathematical equation, one full of variables and recursion and send-offs. Full of ground and go-bury.
Enough of this. On June 23, having been granted access to a SSSNO database running COBOL and green terminals and bulky codes, I supposedly found her SSN. I was careful to check for encryption, private & public keys and so on and fort. But I think the stars where right. It was actually her number, I was sure then. DeMille, a friend of mine who is an attorney, ran the number at this District Court computer and got a couple of litigation files. There it was. Perhaps homicide actually taken place during the commission of a felony (acc. to ‘felony murder rule’). Lawyer shit, I love it. But it was the State VS. her hypothetical brother, not her. I said “Cecile, let it go, man, It’s no use for me; and I don’t even think it’s her number; something is not right in the connections I made”. My longing to see her had made of me a careless bastard.
I lost track of the things at this point. I threw away her SSN # and mindlessly forgot it. But I did mind her.
One day this crazy girl hit my car. She was actually like the ghost in the photograph when she stepped out of the car to see what happened. The crash was loud, but the damage done was, for our surprise, almost imperceptible.
“But, man, aren’t you…”, she was about to ask.
“Yes I am. No pain, no gain. Here you are, bitch. From public unawareness to a freaking car wretch. I recognise you. I was even reading your last e-mail when you hit me”.
“The one about Darwin and stuff…?”
“Aham. Uh-oh. We’re causing trouble”.
Intense flux of motorized vehicles. U-Turns. A lot of abuse and a lot of horn sounds (it was actually invented in 1909 as an alert device, converted then into a very nasty, albeit useful, abuse-thing). Cars went by with “fuck you” and “up your ass” and “bitch!”. Sex has nothing to do with traffic and public transportation, but people tend to mix things up a little bit.
I paid for damages. She apologized and then we hugged. We hugged and then each one of us returned home. Now we’re dating. Next week we’re out on out-of-nowhere vacation.
Her father works for the Social Security Administration as a systems developer, you know, based on COBOL and on the US Military internal dedicated SNA/SDLC network. Her brother did kill a passerby in Illinois when he was 19 years old, after having stolen a Mustang ’78. My friend DeMille is now a helping hand on his case.
* * *
This is my homage to the US Social Security Administration. I, Julio Lemos, do have a Social Security Number, which as a matter of fact is not known to me anymore. I’m enrolled somewhere. I had it on my Phoenix-AZ University DBASE degree, a document thereof, but I lost it. I lost my number.