Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Current Fascination

I loathe walking. Well, not LOATHE, but Sincerely Dislike. The only ways I can endure it is if I specifically am walking to GET somewhere (like, when I was in England and walking was absolutely necessary and therefore unnoticeable), or if it's a particularly beautiful walk. It is my great good fortune that I have recently gotten permission to go for walks in one of the most lovely places on earth (IMHO). It's a gated community not too far from my apartment, and it's just breathtaking - rolling hills, beautiful mansions, tons of deer.

It's also home to masses of birds, especially bluebirds. This, to me, was a sign, insofar as I have a Sign... the first bluebird I ever consciously recognized was in a wilderness camp, as I was leaving the wedding of a dear young friend who was almost like a son to me. I remember seeing it fly overhead and suddenly knew that THAT was an authentic bluebird, and I had seen it on the day of Neil's wedding, which meant it would be a happy one.

In the years since, I have started spotting them with more frequency, especially in the last year. Each time I felt a thrill, and had the conscious thought that Something Good was imminent. So to see so very many on my recent walks in my little demi-Paradise is like a confirmation (I admit, I'm not sure of what precisely). I don't believe in totem animals; I am a sucker for certain ones like cats and bunnies and Pomeranians... but I do attribute a positive significance to bluebirds.

I remember first reading about the concept of "The Bluebird of Happiness" in Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild - the girls were in a pantomime of Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird, which tells of the quest of 2 children for the Bluebird of Happiness. Of course, my interest in the signficance of bluebirds is rather spoilt by the nauseating song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with its line "If happy little bluebirds fly/Beyond the rainbow/Why oh why can't I?" (I am bored silly by The Wizard of Oz. Never cared for it.) But still my fascination remains, partially due to the rarity of spotting them. Cardinals and bluejays aplenty, but few bluebirds. They are made precious by their scarcity.

New Bit of Brilliance

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I had a lengthy and spirited debate with some friends this past weekend about the Healthcare debacle and the Obama Administration's proposed plan. Even among a small group of fairly mellow and affectionate friends, the words sometimes became heated, and I went away feeling a vague feeling of dread and discouragement at some of the facts and figures revealed during the discussion. If a group of smart and respectful friends couldn't come to any reasonable conclusions over the current healthcare situation, how could we possibly expect the government to make all the right choices and truly benefit the public?

The fact is, they can't, and they won't. It's easy to get bogged down in the details of various systems throughout the world, and to be furious at the perceived inequties... but the underlying fact is that we live in a broken world, and we're probably going to f*&k it up, no matter how good our intentions. It's just too big, and we're just too selfish, incompetent and lazy to fix it. The economy will rise and fall, healthcare will grow impossibly complex, the environment will continue to deteriorate, and people will be treated badly and unfairly by other people.

I've been living without real insurance for almost 3 years now; after I lost my job at William Morris, I had COBRA for 18 months and spent a small fortune to hang on to it, to squeeze every last drop of medical support I could from it. When it ran out, I applied with my insurance agent for a single plan, and found out that I'm horribly expensive to insure - I take Prozac, and I'm overweight, which makes me well-nigh uninsurable. I
could get a plan, but would pay more than I could really afford. I would pay hundreds each month, all for the possibility of serious illness. I just can't bring myself to do it - money's tight, and in general I'm quite healthy. For those few days each year when I might actually need to see a doctor, I would pay thousands.

I did sign up for Christian Healthcare Ministries as a sort of emergency cushion - for $150 a month, I have access to a lump sum of money I can count on to pay for the big stuff, like cancer or a car accident. No preventative care, or x-rays, or prescriptions - the deductible is something like $5000. But it's better than nothing!

Sometimes it is scary, when I'm not feeling well and I don't know the cause... or when I think about the decades to come where my health will inevitably deteriorate. But the fact of the matter is, I don't feel like worrying about potential medical needs - I don't want it to be the Big Thing in my life. When did it become so huge, so significant a thing, where we would scream at each other in Town Hall meetings and go batsh*$ crazy on the news? Yes, our health is vitally significant, and quality of life is important... but our increased reliance on societal structures to take care of us, be it medical, or Social Security, etc., is not a good thing.

I'm going to have to rely on God to take care of me... I doubt I'll have enough to retire, and yes, I may end up with diabetes or cancer. I will probably have no spouse (and certainly, no children) to provide for me either. This means I only have God to fall back on when things start to fall apart. The government may help a little, if it hasn't all gone completely to pot... but in the final analysis, God will be the one doing the heavy lifting.

This is undeniably scary... how he'll take care of me is a source of much anxiety to me. But after stripping away all of the illusions of insurance and government provisions and familial support, he is all there is left to us. I have reason to believe he's Good and has my best interests at heart... and this is something I
don't have reason to believe about the government.