Sunday, August 23, 2009

Still Alive

One trip remaining to empty the house of things we wish to keep with us. There will still be a few items remaining after this next trip: empty boxes, mucky throw rugs, an old car seat, a few mops, and the garage door openers.

Not a lot of room here. Especially in the shower. Just measured it. It's 2-1/2' square. I'm not square (haven't been called that in years) but I do measure two feet from shoulder to shoulder. So I shower in the bathtub, where the faucet comes out at about chest high. Makes washing my face and hair a bit of a challenge.

Son has done a check and determined we are probably the only people around here over the age of twelve who do not smoke. But the people are friendly enough.

Stairs are a nightmare. No air in the hallway. Not to breathe anyway. I nearly faint going up one flight of seventeen steps. Then I have to make another flight and I nearly die.

We can afford to be here until maybe Christmas. Then we don't even have this.

Sometimes that's just how it goes. You know it's true - there are still people in this world who would trade places with us in a trice.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Damn Technology - Nothing to Do But Wait

Back in the Sixties someone came up with a bumper sticker which read: Life Sucks. And then you die.

Sometimes I think they weren't half wrong.

Once again I was temporarily without my email account. Sometimes I think technology was invented to drive me nuts. It certainly has speeded things up. A long time ago it would have taken a lot longer for me to get this close to the bottom.

Fortunately, my email is working again and so I am not cut off from sanity and joy. I don't talk with people face-to-face much anymore. Haven't for years. So having online people to talk with is my only real interaction with the world at large.

Listening to Richard Harris singing MacArthur Park. What a beautiful song. Wish I could sing that. Sing it well, I mean.

Anyway, I'm not dead. Not yet. Plenty of time for that. Meanwhile, I'm kind of in limbo. I'm here where I have to be because there is no place I want to be that I can be. Did you follow that? Being a person of inspiration I am waiting. Halfheartedly, I attempt various things, but in truth I am waiting for the sign, the indicator, of what to do next. Until then I am frozen in a prison of my own making, waiting for the Keymaster to present me with instructions on what to do, where to go, and how to achieve. Better people keep moving. But I am not better. I am waiting, and like the obedient child I once was I look for what I do not know.

Perfect song. Aerosmith's, Dream On, just began. Catch you later.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sheltered and Homeless

So I have internet access again.

Actually, I was only without it for less than a day. I just stayed away because - because.

I just deleted what I originally intended to post. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I may very likely remain away. Because - because.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shut Down

So, it has come to what may be the final post for this blog. If you've been trying to keep track, officially this is the 282nd post since 10-21-2008. Didn't make it that long, did I? Only been online just over a year, and only been blogging just under a year. Not that this is my first time being online. I've tried the internet, off and on, for around twenty years or so. I remember being on Compuserve. I don't even know if that exists anymore. That was in the days of Prodigy, which I never used.

Yesterday I was offline because my current service provider crashed. Don't know if it was the storms which passed through or if they got hit with some cyber attack. When I called their technical support line I got a recorded message which simply stated that "High speed internet users in Minnesota may not have access to the internet today. We apologize for the inconvenience and our technicians are doing all they can to correct the problem."

High speed? I didn't know. Wow! How disappointing. I was hoping I could get high speed if/when I reconnect. Now it turns out I've been using it. I guess that's good. Else this round of internet access would have gone the way of the others: I get p*ssed off because everything takes so frikkin' long and I cancel the service.

When I started this blog last October I didn't know why. There were things I wanted to say, but not only was I not sure what they were, but I didn't even know to whom I wanted to say them. I guess I hinted at it in my fourth post, titled, "A Wound That Will Not Heal". That post was about Daddy, and how I had deliberately hurt him.

I have talked about Daddy a lot in this blog. It's been twenty-five years since he went away and I still miss him. How would my life be different had he stayed? He would not be happy with me, I think. I've lived life longer than he did when he was here, but I have achieved nothing and have nothing to show for it. What a waste.

Another of my favorite topics is Stephen. Dear Stephen. Taken even earlier than Daddy. Daddy made it to fifty. Stephen barely passed forty. It has been fun recapturing some of the good times (and bad) I shared with both Daddy and Stephen. On a couple of occasions we shared them together, but mostly Stephen and Daddy didn't meet up.

The third topic which dominated this blog was The Old House, and what it was like growing up there. As miserable as living there was, I find myself wistfully returning to it time and again in thought and heart. I guess that is where I want to be after all. I know I'm not all that keen on the present.

Daddy was a hurting and lonely man. Born a b*stard child in a time when such people were not viewed as people, he lived a tortured life. He married when he didn't want to marry because my mother was pregnant with Ranlen and Daddy felt an obligation about that. He had wanted to travel. Be an airplane pilot. He had a license for a time, but was forced to let it lapse due to money constraints. He eventually got his traveling in by virtue of his job, which was regional truck driving in the midwest.

Stephen was an artist who had trouble dealing with many of life's unpleasant realities. His hero was Vincent Van Gough, who he said killed himself. Stephen had a frightful interest in suicide, and I have more than once wondered about the accident which killed him. How accidental was it? Daddy once recorded a musical story in which he very strongly intimated that his drinking and smoking were deliberate efforts to leave this life early. His words, "There are many ways to kill oneself", still haunt me.

But Stephen was especially close to his mother, and when he learned the reason his family had moved to the country (where he met me) was because his mother had been having an affair it hit him hard. I suppose there are things children just don't need to know about their parents.

The Old House kind of suffered, too. By the time we moved in it was quite delapidated, both in structure and in other ways. Once it had been the proud center of a huge farm. Now it stood in the corner of a five-acre lot with two outbuildings. Everything else had been sectioned off and sold as part of other property. It's walls were buckling and it's roof was leaking. Perhaps the fire which brought it down was self-induced? It seems a shame that it's gone. What a waste.

Will that be my legacy, too? "What a waste?" Sometimes I think so.

I have called this blog "A Voice in the Wind" because I tend to ramble. It's hard for me to keep focus because so many different ideas capture my attention. But I liked to tell myself I had important things to say. Turns out I was wrong. What a pity.

There have been several times when I thought about just shutting down the blogs. Now that it will happen I feel sad about it. Yes, if I want to spend the money I am sure I can be blogging again in no time. But there isn't a lot of money to spend. We are scheduled to reconnect to the internet some time this week, but as I wrote at the top of this post, the service provider is having their own set of problems.

We'll see. So, on the chance that I am unable or unwilling to come back, I will leave you with one of my favorite songs. I've posted it before. It's a friendship song. In fact, it's called "Friends". Do play it. And when you do, think of me.

Have a good one.

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travellers to go

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right

Friday, August 7, 2009

It Really was Soft Wood

I wanted to write something funny today. My efforts have not met with success. (So what else is new?) Guess I'm not feeling so silly as I am feeling the need to be silly.

Every get like that? It's like a burp that won't come out. And even when you manage to produce anything it's hardly worth being called a burp. And completely unsatisfying.

Back when I was a child (what do you mean back?) my sister, Helvie, and I would occasionally have days in which we spent an inordinate amount of time saying,

What do you want to do?

I don't know. What do you want to do?

I don't know. What do you want to do?

It drove Mother nuts, and perhaps that made it all worthwhile. Even the getting slapped and being told if we couldn't find anything to do she would find something for us. Inevitably that meant doing something without any redeeming merit whatsoever. Parents just didn't have any imagination back then.

Well, that isn't entirely so.

I don't recall the year, but one winter Mother came up with something to amuse the entire family. It was quite an achievement for her as she was not generally one to participate in games and things like that. Daddy did. Daddy loved table games and teasing and things like that. No so Mother.

But this one year she wrote a series of stories. I don't recall what any of them were. Probably because Mother deliberately left out a whole slew of nouns. Then she cut up about four dozen little rectangle pieces of paper, wrote the name of a noun on each, and shuffled them up. After supper, we sat around the table and she dealt out an equal number of pieces of paper to each. You see, our television was on the blink. Maybe the electricity was even out again. Don't remember. Just remember sitting around the table. Mother, Daddy, Mickey, Lynahr, Judayl, Gayanne, Helvie, and me. Ranell was up north.

Then Mother began reading her story. When she got to a missing noun she turned to the first person to her left. They flipped over their piece of paper and read the noun. It made for some interesting reading. This was especially so when someone flipped over the piece of paper and read, "Sour Owl Sh*t". Mother could be quite earthy.

Finding something to do back then always seemed to be an exercise in creative thinking. Living in the country it was really impossible to get anywhere. I mean anywhere different. I would hop on my bicycle and go ten miles and not see anything I couldn't see from own back yard. I used to do that, too. I'd get on my bike and go, not caring so much about where I was going, just that I was going. It wasn't the destination that mattered. It wasn't even the journey. It was just the feeling I was moving. Oh. How interesting a choice of word. Moving.

That's exactly how I feel at the moment: like I'm moving. But then I am - whether I want to or not. (I don't, by the way.) But this is the wrong kind of moving. Feels more like falling. Like when I was about forty or fifty feet up in that willow tree. I heard the snap and remember wondering about it as I fell. I turned (like a cat) as I dropped and so I saw the arms stretched out to catch me. I landed in them softly, and my weight brought both them and me down to the water's edge (the willow was growing in a swamp). There was a moment's pause before I was lifted back up to the arms' normal posture. I don't remember if that tree is still there. It had soft arms. That all I remember.

I don't know if there are any arms to catch me this time. I turn, but I can't see the bottom. I don't know what's down there, but it's coming up fast. Where are the soft arms to save me? I don't want to go splat.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Loves Ya, Baby

It's an odd thing about keeping animals around the place. Most of my life there have been animals around me. The exceptions were a few years after Daddy had died and we were moving from apartment (flat) to apartment. But they're living creatures and it doesn't take long for normal people to become attached to them. (If you do live in a place with animals - particularly dogs and/or cats - and you don't become attached to them, then I think you need counseling.)

For the most part, the animals we have kept have been dogs and cats. Any other animals we had were kept for food. There were exceptions. One year Helvie and I were given rabbits at Easter. We had had rabbits before, but those had been for food. Our two bunnies were meant to be pets.

It had been a long, cold winter that year, and I suppose Easter was early, too. In any case, we kept the rabbits in the house at first, in the big room, which had been curtained off. We spread sheets over the entire floor and let the bunnies run free. When the weather warmed enough, we set up a nice place for the bunnies in a out building. That lasted exactly one night. The dogs broke in after we went to bed and put an end to the bunnies.

There was another time Gayanne was given three baby chicks at Easter. Gayanne had never had any kind of personal pet before and so she took to the chicks more than anyone realized. And the chicks liked her, too. They would follow her around the yard as she walked, making sure they got exercise. But they didn't last either. It wasn't the dogs, though, which put an end to them. It was Mother. Sundays were baked chicken or roast days, and the day came when Mother decided Gayanne's chickens would be the daily meal. If that wasn't bad enough, guess who got to cook them? Right. Gayanne. Mother never did figure out why Gayanne was so upset, or why she refused to eat, or why it had been cruel to do what she had done. Mother had grown up on a farm. In her mind there were only two reasons to have chickens: they laid eggs; they were good to eat. What a pity that had not been conveyed to Gayanne when she had been given the chicks to take care of.

I suppose it's more parents who make taking care of pets odd. Spouse's family used to have a nice, fluffy cat. It was a fearful thing which hid from strangers. The first time I was brought home to meet Spouse's family I chanced a glimpse of it as it ran down the stairs into the basement. It took me nearly the entire weekend (it was Thanksgiving Weekend) to win the cat's confidence so that it actually came to me and allowed me to stroke its back. After I left the cat offended either Spouse's mother or brother (it's still not clear) and her brother killed it. Spouse was told the cat had run away, but she investigated further and learned the truth. You see, this wasn't the first time a pet had "run away".

There had been a dog. It, too, had mysteriously run away. Twenty years later Spouse's mother fessed up. She had brought it to the pound to be put down. She had grown tired of taking care of it after the children had grown and left home.

I suppose that's partially why I resent it when people put such a strong emphasis on money. To me, it seems that the more we do that the more likely we will make our pets "run away". Then we tell lies to cover our actions, as though we instictively know we've done something wrong.

Part of my not wanting to have our cat in the first place was knowing this day (having to move) was a very real possibility, and finding a place to rent which allows cats is not always easy. As it turned out, we did. But there's a responsibility in keeping a pet. No, they are not humans, and no I do not believe they should have all the rights of humans. But they do have the right to be taken care of. After all, we chose them.

It isn't always easy and it isn't always fun. But what is? Tell me. I'd like to know. Nothing that I have or do makes me happy all the time. But when a cat - or dog, or bird, or whatever - comes and wants to sit beside you because it likes you, that has to mean something to you. If it doesn't then I truly feel sorry for you, for you are missing out on life's greatest treasure: love.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If Home is Where the Heart Is, Then I Am a Wanderer Indeed

Back in the 1960s it was the practice at the grade school I attended (in nice weather) to have the students line up by class out in the parking lot. There was a flag pole there and we would all stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Each day one lucky student would be chosen to lead the recitation. Students were chosen by rotating from class to class. With six grades, and two classrooms per grade, this meant twelve classes. Volunteers would be requested, and since most students never volunteered, that meant the leaders in the Pledge of Allegiance rotated through a small number of students. I was one of those students.

I took great honor in leading the entire school in the recital, and when it was my turn I spoke the words loud and proud. My sister, Gayanne, would make fun of me afterward. She and her friends criticized everything and everyone.

It wasn't so much that I'm patriotic. Not in the sense one thinks of when one thinks of patriotic people, waving the flag and blindly following even stupid and morally wrong decisions. I have never adhered to the "you can't criticize those you love" dogma, which seems to be the teaching of Republicans in particular. To me, that is phony. Following blindly is hardly respect. It's stupidity, and I refuse to be that way.

Still, I love my country, despite growing older and learning it is a far from perfect place. Of course, if we only followed the rules and dogma we have set into law, it would be a wonderful place for everyone. But the words of our constitution, while majestic and royal, have never been applied across all groups of people. From the inception of our republic there have always been vast numbers of people denied the things promised in the constitution because people of power don't like them.

I remember as a child being confused about slavery. For one hundred years we maintained slavery. This was not consistent with the words I was taught from the constitution. Women weren't allowed to vote. Politically powerful people took tremendous advantages against people who had no power. The freedoms promised to everyone only seemed to exist for those who belonged to the group/s currently wielding political power. That is still true today.

Who is in power shifts, but generally political power seems to reside with those who have connections to a lot of money. Historically, these people have been white men, and so all white men are grouped with them. I don't think that's any more fair than excluding those who aren't white men from power. But my Daddy was a white man, and I don't see that he got a whole lot of special privileges. Back when I was a baby my family lived in a neighborhood in which we were the only white family. We were also the poorest family in the neighborhood and the others felt sorry for us.

True, had Daddy been of the right mind, he could have made himself more like those in power and probably advanced himself, whereas non-whites did not have that luxury. Daddy's problem wasn't his skin color: it was his social attitude. He was working class. An old style person in a modern world.

Political power is an ugly power, and those who wield it often eventually become ugly. It's inevitable. One cannot work with sewers and not develop an odor in their very skin. Back when I worked in a pizza restaurant (not fast food back then) I actually smelled like a pizza restaurant when I wasn't there. That was a good smell, I thought. The smell of politics is offensive to my sense of rightness.

There are those who hate the idea of having children say the Pledge of Allegiance. They maintain it is against their civil rights. Personally, I think we get carried away with things like that. Does it really hurt to show respect for the country in which one lives? People argue that the country isn't helping them. Well, I know where they're coming from. But they are missing the point, I think. We live here. And even if we're not happy with our lot, it's still home. It is sad when home is not a happy place to be. But I know about that, too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Unpleasant Countdown

Less than a week to go now in this house. Legally, I believe we have until some time in September before we have to leave, but the movers will be here next Monday to take our possessions away. Hopefully, they won't keep them for themselves.

When Spouse and I got married we had the ceremony in eastern Wisconsin. At the time we would be living in eastern Minnesota. But Spouse's family was where we had the ceremony. One of my close friends at the time actually drove the 300 miles one way to attend the wedding. He, my mother, and a two sisters rented a van and he did the driving. After the wedding they brought back all of the wedding gifts while Spouse and I went off to spend some time together.

Two years later my friend got married. As I walked the receiving line to shake his hand (and his bride's) he introduced me to her.

DAN: This is my friend, Bevie. We're good friends.

ME: Yes. So good, in fact, that I let him take charge of our wedding gifts. How are they, by the way?

They're really nice. The toaster's broken. It was just cheap garbage.

Wasn't that your gift to us?

Yes. I believe it was.

That's one of the things I liked about Dan. He just flowed with a joke as though he were in on it from the first. But it's been nearly 30 years since I've seen him. Life goes on and often we head in separate directions from those we care about today.

Which brings me back to the point of this post. Less than a week to go in this house. When we move we will have at least interrupted telephone service. I receive my internet service via telephone. Don't know what kind of telephone service we will have. We'll have to have something, but whether that service includes an internet connection is not known at this time. So, what I'm trying to say is that I may be on a countdown to signing off for a very long time. Possibly permanently.

In the meantime Spouse and Son are all excited and moving things early. They're in the process of loading up for their third trip in as many days. Saving the movers work next week. Just as well. They charge by the hour. How can we afford to hire movers? We can't afford not to. We are moving to a third floor apartment/flat. I get wore out just walking the stairs carrying my own weight. No one we know is able and willing to help. The cost of renting a moving truck I could drive is almost as much as hiring someone else to do the work. Besides, we're keeping someone employed. Doing our part, you know.

Myself? I have not returned to the place since we signed the lease. I'm in no hurry. Once I get there I'm not going to want to come down. It just means having to climb back up. (No elevators. This place is not exactly the Ritz.)

Fortunately, we're nearly out of furniture. Unfortunately, the furniture which remains is heavy. I have a beautiful cedar desk which weighs more than I do. We have the pool table, which nobody would buy. That's going to cost an extra $150 to move. And they won't set it up. Just as well. Son as a really nice dresser which is almost as heavy as me, and we have a nice one about half my weight. Other than those things our furniture consists of folding tables and chairs, a glider rocker we purchased when we learned Son was coming, three mattresses, two swivel office chairs, and a round bumper pool table. Everything else has long since been sold.

What we have are several dozen boxes filled with things from VHS movies to old record albums, my writing Archives, books (lots of these), knick knack things (I love these things), plush animals (I love these, too) and music cds. Basically, junk. But it's our junk. And so we keep it. As much because we couldn't sell it at the garage sale as any other reason. Which reminds me: we also have several boxes containing items from our gift business. Boy, didn't we get rich doing that?

So, I'll try to post daily through the week. After all, I may be signing off for good come Sunday or Monday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting People to Laugh

Stephen and I used to make ad-lib recordings on cassette tape. That we were using cassette tape should give you an indication of just how long ago that was. But we had fun.

As comedy teams went we probably weren't the best, but we enjoyed ourselves. I was the straight man. Stephen was the comic. Not that I never had anything funny to say, but generally I let Stephen run with the skits and I would simply react to him. It wasn't always easy to keep up with his train of thought, for there were many tracks in Stephen's mind, and he switched from track to track with ease.

Half the time I don't think Stephen knew what he was saying until it had left his mouth. He didn't think too far ahead, which is why his films, for the most part, were dismal failures. The exception was when he let his guest star take control of the story.

Often we would crack each other up because neither had a clue what the other would be saying. There were no rehearsals. Everything was spontaneous. One of my favorite skits began thus:

Stephen set the tape recorder to record and then began knocking on his chair. Taking my cue, I made a door opening sound and put on my wheezy old man voice. Stephen used his baby-talk old man voice. (Can't describe it other than that. You'd have to hear it.)

ME: Good evening. May I help you?

STEPHEN: (very slowly) I'm looking for a man - who only has - two eyes. (faster) But it doesn't look like he has two eyes because he's wearing a patch over one eye. But he doesn't need the patch because he really has two eyes. Have you seen him?

No. But then it's difficult for me to see because I have this patch over my eye.

Stephen could be very funny. Sometimes he could also be annoying. But he was annoying in a funny sort of way. He had a fascination with certain words. One of those words was hemorrhoids.

STEPHEN: I'm sorry, Challie, but I can't go - bowling - with you on Sa.Tur.Day.Night.

ME: Whaaat's da matter?

(First two words high with expectation.Third word with great letdown.) It's these - hemorrhoids. They're so embarrassing. The other day I went to pick up my ball and - well - it was horrible.

Hemorrhoids! Is that all? Why not try Doc.Tor.Scholl's.Hem.Roid.Al.Suppositories?

Oh, but they're all the same.

Not Doctor Scholl's! They're made with a special blend.

But they all taste so horrible.

I had to explain what suppositories were.

Later, we did another skit.

I'm sorry, Challie, but I can't go to the show tonight.

Whaaat's da matter?

I gotta brush my teeth. My breath. It's so bad.

I see what you mean. Why don't you try Doc.Tor.Scholl's.Breath.Suppositories?

After our suppository skits Stephen would often walk around with his back arched and shoulders back, as though in great discomfort, and exclaim loudly, "It's these - hemorrhoids." Finally, his mother asked him if he really did have hemorrhoids.

Although extremely close to his mother, Stephen took no greater joy than driving her insane. (Unless it was driving me insane.) When I was invited to have supper with them the first time he began the meal with the comment, "Bevie, this isn't a race." That was followed up with his pretending to hit his head on the table. His head would go down and his hand would come up, rapping the table's underside. His mother was never quite sure he wasn't really hitting his head and would get all upset about it.

There were few things Stephen treated seriously. Art and basketball were probably the only two things I can think of. Everything and everyone else was fair game for his sense of humor. Like me, Stephen often showed his love through his sarcasm. As my sister, Judayl, once told Gloria, a friend who broke down and cried under the constant onslaught of Judayl's, Helvie's, and my humor, "We never tease people we like. Wait a minute! No. That's wrong. We only tease people we like."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Self and Other Centered

Not sure why, but I got to thinking about my time at a company around twenty years ago. It was at the beginning of my rise to financial comfort, although I was unaware of it at the time. I was establishing myself as a dominant force in an industry which had caught my interest: computer programming. The interest would not last, however, and by the time I was kicked out of it I wasn't sorry to leave.

But I met a variety of people in that short span of ten years. Two of them came to mind this morning. Both are women. Vastly different from each other, both in appearance and personality.

From the perspective of most, the first woman had a lot going for her. She was young, in her early twenties. She had a shapely figure. Wore clothes to accent her figure. She wore her blonde hair thick about her head. Nearly all of the guys fawned all over her. But she had a significant flaw which didn't seem to bother most, but completely turned me off. Which is probably why I cannot remember her name.

What I was remembering was a telephone conversation I had with her. It wasn't often we interacted. At that time the company existed in two buildings, separated by about five miles. I was at the northern building and she at the southern. I had just completed the creation of some special nursing home software and she was to be the support person for it. So I called her.

Hello, Cashlin*? This is Bevie from the north office.

Hi, Bevie. What do you want?

Just finished the NDMS software and I was told you are to be the support contact?

Yes. That's right.

Well, we're shipping it next week so I thought we should get together so I can give you the rundown on how it works.

Yes, that would be helpful.

Good. We need to set a date for that.

Are you asking me out for a date?


You just asked me out for a date.

No, I didn't.

Yes, you did. I heard you.

No! I said we have to set a date for our meeting about the NDMS software.

Oh. I see.

Needless to say, I was rattled. And when Cashlin spread the tale that I had asked her out I got teased by some of the younger programmers, until I explained what had happened. Despite their own attraction to Cashlin, they understood. You see, Cashlin was an idiot, and everyone knew it. But that wasn't even her worst flaw.

The problem with Cashlin was her eyes. I would look in them - and see nothing. It was like there was nobody there. How others found that so attractive I'll never know.

* Still can't recall her name, so I chose Cashlin - because it means "vain"

The other woman I remember much better. Her name is Karen. She was around thirty. Perhaps a few years older. She was married, had son and daughter who provided her with lots of joy and frustration. She was in charge of the documenation department, where I had begun my work at the company. A wonderful person, she took the effort to behave mannerly even with people she didn't particularly like. She was quite intelligent and creative, and often managment relied on her during "crunch time". She was the kind of person people could trust and rely on. She was also fifty to one hundred pounds overweight.

I added that last because I find it significant that Karen was a much sexier woman than Cashlin, despite the differences in body measurements. When I looked in Karen's eyes I saw humor, intelligence - there was person there! But Karen would have mornings when she came in and closed the door to our office so she could sit at her desk and cry. She would still be smarting from the mocking criticism she had received at the hands of teenagers just the night before when she stopped to buy groceries on the way home from work. She could cry in front of me because I understood what it felt like to go through that. As wonderful, intelligent, and filled with potential Karen was, she never really believed in herself. I understood that. Maybe that's why we were friends.

Don't know why I wrote about this, other than that I got to thinking about it. Don't know why that either. I haven't seen either woman in twenty years. But it just seems sad to me that the better woman had the lower self-esteem. Life isn't really fair, is it?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm Tall - But Time is Short

Unless something extraordinary occurs, we have today and eight others remaining in this house. Then we're out. Forever. The demise will have entered its next phase.

I would like to say the downward trend has been stopped, if not reversed, but that would not be true. We've just lost our current place to stay. Estimates are we will have four months at the apartment/flat. Then we lose that. Where we go then I don't know.

Was at the digestive doctor this past week. He's a very nice man. Been going to him since the early 1990s. He gives me free medicine. It only lasts a few weeks, but hey, that's like putting money in my pocket.

Generally, he's an upbeat kind of person, but this time he was low. You see, I'm not his only patient who has crumbled under the current economic collapse. He has dozens of them. Literally. And because there are so many people he knows personally who are in trouble, he favors the current health care reforms being proposed in Washington. I didn't go into details with him about them. I'm not sure I am.

It's not that I don't acknowledge the current system of health care in the United States s*cks so bad it's nearly incomprehensible as it is I just don't trust anyone to do it right. I don't trust politicians and I don't trust insurance carriers. I would trust the doctors and nurses, but they have no real power to make decisions. They can treat patients, but only within the limits set by government, insurance, and administrators.

The concept of requiring people to buy health insurance bothers me. People like me just cannot afford it. So what will government do when we don't buy it? Fine us. Brilliant thinking. Like the banks who punish people who can't afford to pay credit card bills. They raise the interest rate, thereby increasing the payments. It's just another way to torture the poor and say it's their own fault.

The theory is that for those who cannot really afford to pay for health care, subsidies will be provided. Right. I know what kind of health care that is. I've got it now. I simply don't believe in it. It will not work, but it will make a lot of people feel self-satisfied that they did something and now don't have to do anything else.

My attitude is you don't have to do anything anyway. Just leave us the h*ll alone. Life's bad enough without you a*sholes making it worse with laws that serve you and not us.

People with money b*itch and complain how people like me cost them so much money with our poor health and no health insurance. Bullsh*t! The free medicine my doctor gives me? The pharmaceutical companies get huge tax write-offs for donating the medicine. It says right on the package it cannot be sold. That it's solely for doctors to give away. And doctors don't just give it away to the poor. Back when I had money and insurance and all kinds of good things I still got free medicine every time I saw this doctor. My being poor and not having insurance did not change anything.

The insurance I "enjoyed" over the past year served two purposes: it paid a good portion of my medicine, and it was there should I have been hospitalized. But the co-pays were so high I still could not have procedures done which my doctors were demanding. I had no money to pay my portion. And so I had no procedures.

The lie is purported that people like me go to the doctor anyway and don't pay. That's a lie! The truth is, we don't go to the doctor when we can't pay. Yes, we get worse. And then we don't go to the doctor because we can't afford that. I went this time because I needed a new prescription. Don't know what it cost me, but the plan is to use some of our housing money to pay for it.

I went two years with four broken teeth because I had no insurance or money to get them fixed. When I got insurance I went. Higher insurance premiums for everyone else? Why? Turns out insurance hardly covered anything at all and I wound up spending the entire spring tax return on my teeth. Bad insurance does not save poor people anything. It gives them a false sense of hope which is dashed when they get their bill.

Life in America is about money. If you have it, you will do well. If you don't, you become a tool for the Democrats and a burden to Republicans. I resent being a tool, but it is the Republicans who truly offend me. They claim they are "God's party" because they are anti-abortion. But this is what God says "his people", regardless of race, creed, or religion, are like:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

That is from Galatians, chapter five. Be honest now. Does any of that remind you of Republicans, or Democrats, or any other political group? It doesn't me. I see none of that in the Republican Party. They show hate, anger, strife, impatience, meanness, cruelty, disloyalty, harshness, reckless abandon. And all they want are more laws.

They're certainly not god-like. Which leaves who to resemble?

No matter. In just over a week I enter the next phase of my demise.