Can I get a transfer please?

Maybe this is my fault for not knowing the difference between 211 and 311, I don’t know. Who decided we should have so many -11 numbers anyway?

The other day, as I made my way to work on the 110 south, I had to hit my brakes pretty quickly to avoid an orange cone that somehow jumped from the left lane (it was closed for some reason) to the right lane, which I was driving in. I was able to navigate my way around the cone safely (and in consideration of my 10-year-old Honda Accord, such a cone would have wreaked havoc on my tires/undercarriage), I decided to call CHP to report the traffic hazard. From my reporting days, I’ve memorized the Traffic Management Center phone number and call them whenever I see hazards on the road. (Not to say that this post would end up sending a huge influx of calls to the CHP TMC, but I’m still going to refrain from putting that number here.) But for some reason, they weren’t picking up.

So I decided to call 211. My mistake – 211 is actually a social services help line, and better utilized by folks sitting in a non-moving position with a pen and notepad in hand. First, I was prompted to choose whether I wanted to hear my services in English or Spanish. Then, I was asked if I was pregnant or had a child from 0 to 5, to press 2. Or for code violations or assistance in the unincorporated areas, press 4. Since I had another kind of complaint (and still did not understand what was going on) I held on for the operator.

That poor operator. She seemed to be a nice enough lady, but I suppose my tone at having to take down CHP’s phone number (while barreling down the 110 at 65 – er, excuse me, 55 mph) was less than pleased.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s ever made this mistake though. Instead of giving the phone numbers, isn’t it possible to transfer callers to the correct place? Or even transfer them to the correct -11 line? I was trying to report a road hazard, after all. *sigh*