The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: If Only

April 30, 2008

If Only

I received a notice from a third-party audit company on behalf of my insurance company. They wanted to know if a chiropractic visit I'd made was a result of an accident of some kind. Me, being slightly muddled of late, never replied -- twice. I supposed it's three strikes and you're out when it comes to nameless, faceless, companies and so I got a third, curtly-worded letter that went something like this:

"You were recently sent two notices on behalf of *name-of-insurance-company-omitted-so-I-don't-get-sued* requesting information concerning medical treatment that may be related to an accident. To date, we have not received a response.

*Audit-company-name-omitted* is a trusted business partner of your insurance company. We are committed to maintaining the privacy of your protected health information. Please take a few moment to complete the questionnaire on the back of this letter.

PLEASE DO NOT DISREGARD THIS LETTER (caps included from the letter).

If we do not receive this information, we will conclude you are not going to cooperate with your health plan in the claims process and will proceed accordingly."

I was struck by the clarity and effectiveness of the letter. It detailed exactly what sort of communication had gone before. It was clear about what I had and had not done. It took some of the curtness away by reassuring me that this strange company was indeed for me and not against me. And then, with a simple turn of phrase, it threatened me both clearly and vaguely.

And, to its credit, the letter did its job. I responded. I didn't know what "will proceed accordingly" meant and quite honestly, I didn't care to find out.

But that letter did make me think: if only it were that easy to illicit a response when it comes to interpersonal communication.

Imagine THAT letter:

Dear (fill in name of person here):

You were recently sent (fill in the number of times you tried to reach out) emails/phone messages/letters/cards/text messages requesting to spend time together/see how you're doing/deal with our issues. To date, I have not received a response.

I am a trusted friend/advocate/partner to you. I am committed to maintaining honest communication while having lots of fun with you.

PLEASE DO NOT DISREGARD THIS LETTER, even if you no longer wish to communicate or have fun with me. There are three easy ways to let me know your wishes:

1. Call me between 10AM and 10PM Pacific Standard Time.
2. Visit and leave me a comment on my blog.
3. Send an e-mail to let me know of your decision.

If I do not receive this information, I will conclude that you are unwilling to cooperate in this process/are a mere fraction of a person/have been kidnapped by mimes, and will proceed accordingly.

Based on this letter, every friend and loved one who's been delinquent in communication would feel compelled to let me know their wishes. I would never wonder if they didn't call or write simply because they were busy, because they didn't want to, or if they had indeed been kidnapped by mimes. Moreover, I would also know how to proceed accordingly. After all, how am I supposed to send the Clown Rescue Posse for you if I'm unaware you've been kidnapped by mimes?

If only it were that simple.

No comments: