Monthly Archives: March 2016

rock the vote, bonus points if your polling place is a casbah.

All right, real quick here, y’all:

My Facebook is ‘sploding with “I Voted!” stati. This is great, guys. I’m truly happy about this, for real.

But wouldn’t it be neat if there was no need to advertise it? If the whole “I Voted!” thing was just assumed, because duh everyone votes! Why wouldn’t you vote?!

Also, I think we should all be proud that we voted – not as a pat on the back, not to brag about how informed/cool/saintly you are – but because HOLY SHIT THIS IS HOW WE CHOOSE OUR LEADERS IN THIS COUNTRY ISN’T THAT AWESOME?

(Please leave your arguments about the flawed electoral process elsewhere. I understand them. I’m merely commenting on the incredible freedom that comes with the ability to case a ballot).

Also, also: apparently casbahs are truly only found in north Africa, sooooo…

“fine print?” More like “horrible print.”

In the past six months, I’ve been able to experience the full reach of my health insurance benefits. I decided, rather than going to regular doctor’s appointments throughout the course of the year, I should just get hit by a truck and break my leg and blast my way through those deductibles all at once.

But whatever. This is not a rant against the insurance industry. Well, it kind of is. But it’s not a rant against the particular insurance plan my workplace affords me. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the reach of my coverage.

Instead, it’s a rant against paper. Not even paperwork (though filling out endless medical history forms at multiple medical offices is not my preferred method of rest and recreation. Side note: Sure, they give us a clipboard, but why not a table? Or why not let us stand at the counter? By the time I’ve filled up 8 pages front-and-back with my detailed medical history, I need an additional appointment with someone to discuss the awful burning pain in my neck from looking down at such an awkward angle).

Heh. So that did turn into a little rant about paperwork, eh? Ahem. Moving on:

Initially, almost all of my “explanation of benefits” came via email. This is great. Everything seemed pretty straightforward and well-explained. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of which I could navigate the provider’s website.

But then, about three months post-dx I started receiving envelopes in the mail. One, two, twelve, six hundred. Most of them were pretty clearly labelled THIS IS NOT A BILL. Okay, fine. These were basically detailed print-outs of what I’d already reviewed on the website. Wasteful, but recyclable.

Scattered throughout Big Bill Mountain were thinner envelopes with phrases like AMOUNT DUE and PROVIDER OWED. But due what? Owed to whom? I swore to the almighty chocolate-covered-peanut-butter Christ that I’d already paid for this shit! I went through my checking accounts to see if checks cleared. I took a fine-toothed (tooth?) comb to my credit card statement to compare dates of services rendered and charges made. I got toddler-angry; no amount of reasoning or logic could calm my rage. No phone numbers to call, no return envelopes in which to mail my check – no that that mattered, because I didn’t even have a fucking MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO.

So I did the mature thing and scooped up these envelopes – the ones that made me feel stupid and confused – and put them in a pile to be dealt with At A Later Time.

When that Later Time eventually arrived, I took a deep breath, thought Cleansing and Happy Thoughts, and carefully read through the pile, where, 100% of the time, I found a tiny hidden phrase: PLEASE WAIT FOR A PROVIDER BILL BEFORE MAKING A PAYMENT.

“Why the hell didn’t you see this the first time around?” you’re asking me. To which I respond: MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT. I mean, EASIER SAID THAN DONE, OL’ PALLY-PAL. In fact, I had to take a couple minutes to re-read through these letters to find that phrase again just so that I could quote it for this rant. Don’t TELL me I don’t suffer for my art.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must make an appointment with someone to discuss my transient, intense rage issues.

 

 

 

scenes from an American apartment complex, pt 1

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY.

The sound of multiple loose automotive components in a dark green Chevrolet punctuates the calm afternoon. The sedan sits idling next to the Dumpster. A voice calls out:

                    DRIVER (yelling)
YOU ARE IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE!

A full, white garbage bag flies from the driver’s open window into the Dumpster. The driver attempts to rev the engine and make a quick exit. The car squeals and slowly inches forward, loudly clanging as it pulls away at below-average speed.

 

 

the unbearable lightness of not giving a…

It is the most glorious, terrifying, satisfying, troubling, gratifying, pleasant and awful states of being. It originates from without – a caffeine buzz, an adrenaline rush, an amphetamine high – and eventually settles within. Deep within. It hollows out a space you never knew you had room for and sits. Sometimes, if left unchecked, it grows into a sort of benign soul cancer, but that’s not quite the feeling I’m describing here.

Instead, life continues as it always has, but you sort of fade out. It’s like a giant eraser has started to smudge your outline. The edges collapse into themselves.

Everything flows around you. You just tip your head back and relax, and allow the feeling – you are buoyant, not weighted down – to lift you up. You float.

Nothing… matters. Not really, does it? The sound’s been turned down to half. You could try to hear what’s going on, but it’s okay. You’re good. It’s all good. Everything is good.

Except, not really. Everything is terrible. Everything is a disaster of a train wreck of a massacre of an abortion. But eh, that’s ok. It’s how it is. This is how all of this is and it’s okay.

It’s a feeling to be relished. Luxuriate in it. Wrap it around yourself like some goddamn $200 blanket from some overpriced catalog that keeps arriving on your doorstep even though I’ve never even heard of this store, what the fuck is West Elm? 

–                   –                   –

Try not to misunderstand. I’m not writing this while listening to recordings of Sylvia Plath and sucking down Johnnie Walker. I began work yesterday overly caffeinated and a series of unfortunate events ramped up my adrenaline until I reached the crest described above. I rode that wave of nihilistic glory well into the morning. And you know what? I hope everyone feels this way from time to time. Constantly? No. God, no. But an evening of this is refreshing, almost. Invigorating. As surreal and trippy as I’m describing it, it can ground a person in reality.

 

 

how ’bout that weather?

Out here in the Middle West (as my boy Nick Carraway might say) the last few bits of winter have been quite the roller coaster ride. 60 degree temperatures. Snow. Moonsoon-esque rainfall with biblical flooding. Hellacious wind gusts. Sleet and freezing rain (what’s the difference between the two, anyway?). It’s been more than enough to seriously fuck up a gal’s sinuses, mood and immune system.

But hey! I’ve found a silver lining!

The weather, erratic as it is, has given me – Conversation Assassinator Extraordinaire – nearly unlimited fodder for small talk. I’ve dipped into this well countless times in the past few months. Standing in line for coffee in the break room… simultaneously exiting a bathroom stall with the user beside me and washing our hands in tandem at the sink… checking out at the grocery store and hoping the clerk doesn’t think I have some sort of terrifying health condition / weird decorating fetish because I bought 15 boxes of tampons EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE ON SALE AND IT’S NOT LIKE THEY WON’T GET USED EVENTUALLY.*

All I need to do is glance out the window – or in the general direction of one – make some stupid, throwaway comment about the weather, and BAM! I’ve got ’em twitching with small talk! EVERYONE has an opinion. EVERYONE laughs it off as “Missouri weather.” (SPOILER ALERT: EVERYONE IN EVERY OTHER STATE I’VE LIVED IN HAS USED THE SAME GODDAMN EXPRESSION; cool your jets, all y’all!). EVERYONE eats that crap up like feral cats on Fancy Feast.

Almost everyone, that is. I know that I run the risk of choosing the wrong person with which to converse. We all run that risk any time we open our mouths (which is why I tend to err on the side of selective mutism). One day, my confidence will backfire and I’ll end up on the unpleasant side of a rant about Global Warming or how building permits are issued in flood plains or how Obama ruined America.

Which is not to say I won’t still carelessly, recklessly toss out those errant “Wow, listen to that wind!”s or “Stay dry out there!”s. Because I’m Julie, and what I lack in conversational skill I more than make up for in conversational regret. I’ve lived, but certainly not learned.

 

 

*Some broad working at Walgreens once made a comment to me about the amount of feminine hygiene products I was purchasing. Apparently it’s cool to scrimp and save and collect coupons from 85 newspapers to buy Velveeta Shells n’ Cheese in bulk but doing it for lady-supplies is taboo? That shit, even the crappy cancer-filled, Earth-destroying, cardboard crap, gets expensive since, you know, I WILL NEED TO USE IT FOR MOST OF THE REST OF MY NATURAL LIFE.