MODEL OF INEFFICIENCY

Friday, April 9, 2010

I thought I'd go to bed a little while ago, but then I got sucked into a vortex of chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts) and when I finally got free I was three cookies in and shaking from all the sugar. Since I'd be lying in bed wide awake for the next few hours, I decided to do something productive instead: write about maggots!

Maggots, oh maggots, you disgusting little creeps
Hiding in the trash and making me freak
Maggots, oh maggots, I hate your little guts
I hope a giant tapeworm kicks your squishy butts

We had a Maggot Event here two days ago, which involved touching of the hideous little beasts with my bare hands, flying of maggots all around me as I threw the trash can back into the dark dank trash closet, screaming (by me) in the kitchen, and donning of customized hazmaggot suit (dish gloves, husband's shoes, shower curtain, husband's--don't ask--underwear), the end result being the trash sitting on the back porch we share with our neighbor, me ignoring the trash so I wouldn't have to witness maggots again, and then finally our neighbor putting the trash in the bins because "it was smelling." Yeah--um, sorry.

Besides that misadventure, it's been a pretty good week: we dropped Joedy off at the airport on Tuesday, and since then I've been a model of efficiency, administering baths, bedtimes, and breakfasts on a rigorous schedule, barely giving Lula and Malko time to say "Why the hell are you such a maniacal drill sergeant" between trips to the bank and Hairy Eagle Butt, our friendly grocer. At the bank yesterday, while waiting in line to speak with a rep, there was a female employee whose job, apparently, was to prep the people in line, notifying them they'd have to fill out a deposit slip, show ID, sign over their house, etc. She was extremely perky and pseudo-solicitous, talking in cliched customer servicespeak that made her sound more like a computer--one of those annoying computers that talk in colloquial language--than anything else, and it made my body tingle with sarcasm. The sarcasm went unvented until I heard her say, to the person in front of me, "Oh, we don't want you to have to spend any money," and then it became vented: I said, "Yeah right." Because, excuse me? Wells Fargo is borderline criminal, I think, in its charging of 35-dollar overdraft fees and its misleading "account balancing," which leads the hapless shmuck to think she has this much, when in fact she has this much...

"We don't want you to have to spend any money"? Spare me!

Before going to the bank we went to the health clinic where Joedy and I recently got insurance (it's called Medical Assistance Program, and it's for poor people who can't get Medicaid). I'd been calling and calling to make an appointment to get an inhaler, literally spending two-and-a-half hours, yesterday morning, on hold, so when I was told I'd meet "Ray" (the guy I was trying to get hold of on the phone) I felt pretty smug. Ha ha, I thought: I'll tell Ray there's something wrong with his phone! Maybe I'll even catch him playing solitaire on his computer, or--I knew it--eating lunch!

The clinic was packed, and when an older grey-haired man called my name I jumped up and hurried towards him. I immediately liked Ray--he had a benign, social-services-worker vibe--and when he told me there was only one doctor for the entire clinic, that the entire month of May was booked, and that he--Ray--talks to thirty new patients a day, I realized there was more to it than a screwed-up phone system. "We're swamped," he said, looking at me over his glasses. "If you want, you can go to Urgent Care for your asthma, but make sure you go early, because I heard it's so crowded they're turning people away."

I thanked him, and we left. Tomorrow I'll go to Urgent Care to get an inhaler, and I'm hoping Joedy and I will have "normal" (better) health insurance before much longer. I'm not too worried about us, but I can't help thinking about all the other people--the other people with serious health problems and few, crummy options for help.

When we walked outside, I saw a crushed beer can on the patchy lawn and a scantily-clad overweight woman rocking back and forth on a bench. "Something's wrong with this picture," I thought, and I think I know what it was.

1 comment:

micaela.pelao said...

I find your sociological description of poverty, very interesting. It needs to be told. When I arrived here and was looking for work and had a Medicaid experience of my own, I was appalled. By the second class citizen experience, by the commitment and professionalism of the social workers despite lack of means, that you do a great job describing.

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