What I Didn’t Do Today

-go to the YMCA
-eat daily recommended 4-6 servings of vegetables (consumed: small salad, trace amounts of zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes in lasagna, frozen collard greens)
-spend time walking barefoot in the grass, reconnecting with nature (instead reconnected with couch, last episode of Sherlock)
-write letters to anyone on my list of People Who Matter (a real list I wrote on the back of a utilities envelope and keep in my correspondence drawer)
-avoid sugar consumption (consumed: 3/4 of large chocolate chip cookie, one serving dark chocolate, 1.5 serving Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food)
-say positive affirmations in the mirror (“I trust in the process and flow of life, I trust in the process and flow of life, etc.” is the personal affirmation that was once assigned to me by an acupuncturist who keenly observed my distrust in the process and flow of life)
-work on my ongoing novel project or revise any stories with the ultimate goal of securing my place in the literary canon
-wash dishes (fruit fly situation: escalated)

On the other hand, I DID:

-not do heroin
-avoid supporting global sex trade (to my knowledge)
-maintain my reputation of being a person who is hard to get a hold of by phone
-read 20 pages of the Toronto-as-Detroit science fiction novel, “Brown Girl in the Ring”

I also biked to the free clinic just over the bridge to pick up my prescription. The brother of an old middle school friend works there, and it’s impossible not to feel ashamed when I see him. The first time I saw him there he asked how I’d been and I said something very awkward, one of those things that was supposed to come off as a joke but fell flat in a sad, too-close-to-truth sort of way: “Oh, you know. I’m 30 years old and picking up government subsidized anxiety meds at a free clinic in my hometown. But otherwise good. Good. You?”

As I trudged forward in line with the literally and figuratively unwashed masses (some of them drooling), I had some deep thoughts about the state of healthcare in this country. The other day my boyfriend waited 9 hours to get some free dental care, and here I was at the free clinic. It’s not that I’m snobbish or think I’m above free clinics (though, obviously, I am). It’s that I shouldn’t *have* to go there. I’m the educated middle class, supposedly. These services were not originally intended for me — they were meant for society’s most unfortunate. I’m almost 30 years old with two degrees and a solid work ethic, and I can’t afford a monthly prescription or medical care.

And meanwhile conservatives sabotage any hope for healthcare reform AND cut support for social programs — double whammy. The ol’ GOP 1-2.

I finally arrived at the pharmacy window (glad to see the friend’s brother this time occupied with something in the back) and the pharmacist announced in a loud, shrill voice: “I’M SORRY, BUT YOUR [NAME OF MEDICATION] IS NOT READY YET. SIT OVER THERE NEXT TO THE GENTLEMAN IN DIAPERS UNTIL WE CALL YOUR NAME.”

(Geez, lady, whatever happened to HIPAA and whatnot?!)


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