I called a local organization that is perhaps the most organized organization in the world, to ask how certain members of their community were affected by the volcanic ash-caused flight groundings and delays in Europe. Two hours later, I get the most generic statement possible: We're affected just as everyone else is affected, everyone is safe, normal work is continuing. I called back for something a little less ridiculous, like to ask how many people have been affected; the response was something like, "There's no way we could know that."
Excuse me? There's no way they could count up the people who are stuck coming and going? Knowing this organization as I do, I'm almost positive they not only know how many people are supposed to be coming and going that aren't, but they know exactly whose those people are, where they're from and what their blood type is. Ridiculous. I'm sad to say that I frequently have interactions like these with this organization.
And here's what gets me, this time around. Why the difficulty? Why the lack of information? I cannot see any instance in which I or somebody else could potentially blame a nonstop volcano eruption halfway around the world on anything but natural causes. There was no implication of fault in my message; I simply wanted to know how much they were affected.
Silly me. I got my answer: As much as the next guy.