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Monday, May 5, 2014

GRUMPY OLD BASTARD RANT

constantin brancusi, sleeping muse

I've been in a spin all day, a minor rage, a backed into a corner rage and no recourse. A call that woke me up this morning telling me whatever BigPharma the doctor's office gets their blood-reading strips from has recalled them all over the country. Now I have to go to the hospital, pay I can't guess how much to have blood drawn. Do they take Medicare? Answer: Maybe. Should. Two of the most meaningless words in the language. The part that pist me off was the expectation. Somebody calls at 8 in the morning, tells me to go to hospital and pay them money I don't have and go to the doctor's office for a blood pressure test with money I don't have, the doctor's office an eight dollar round trip. This is happening too much. I get notification that some corporation wants my money because they say so and the announcement they want my money is wrapped in a very articulate threat. I could not say what I wanted to say, talking with the woman in the office I like and know she has no motive beyond what she's told to do. The one telling her what to do is saying it from somebody else, on down the unaccountable line of absence of interest in anything but getting the money. I've had so much of it, people expecting me to give them my money because they say so and I have no recourse. So I have made up my own recourse. I did everything else I planned to do on this trip to town and beyond, bank, drugstore, grocery store. Then came home and went to bed at the time of the doctor's appointment. Didn't even call to say I wouldn't make it. Took a three hour nap. Whatever the repercussions, I don't care. I'll take whatever comes my way like Jack the donkey, stand still like a tree and say, Is that all you got, punk?

constantin brancusi, sleeping muse

The laugh on me is that I'm taking the situation personally and there's nothing personal about it. Except me, and I don't figure. I'm the one paying. And it's wrong of me to take it personally, because it's not. It's about money, not me. They want my money, I give them my money. I don't give them my money, they get all shittin. Threats. The Law. Individually, they don't get it that it is a constant assault of this attitude: I want your money--give it to me now or you'll REALLY pay. And it's not like debt money. A BigPharma corp screws up, has to recall their product, then I'm told to go pay a hundred dollars I don't have for something I don't want to do. Asked why I didn't want to do it, Because I don't want to. That's not a legitimate answer to anyone, but it is the most valid answer I can give. I'm not looking to pass a test, but to answer a question. If you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question. It was the expectation that got to me. It's never a matter of it will wait until next day when I can get some money together. It has to be now, or whatever constitutes else. Else, in the case of the electric corporation is cutting off electricity and charging $40 to turn it back on. Same morning, before leaving, I wrote some checks, one of them to the electric corporation, Blue Ridge. I saw on the bill I'm being charged $40 for being late plus $5 for being late. Everything was fine between us until winter came and my electric bill quadrupled due to electrical use increasing and rates raised. It threw me a month behind getting that first one paid, then the next one the same, on and on through winter. I pay first day I'm able the month before last hoping to catch up when rates recede somewhat in summer. I'm being threatened they'll cut off my power and charge me $40 more to have it turned back on. What do I do? I talked with the man at the desk when it started, Oh that's ok. Evidently, he's the only one that thought so.  
 
constantin brancusi, sleeping muse
 
Here's where the grumpy old bastard that I am kicks in. It was not like this thirty years ago. In that time, the "membership co-op" treated us like "members." Now they treat us like a corporation does. Zero tolerance. Then, the co-op gave evidence it liked its people, its members. Now, give us your money. Straight face. Understanding not an option. Listening not an option. Caring, don't even go there. I will pay the damn bill, and I will not forget this experience. It will be an anecdote in many a conversation from now on until everybody I know has heard it at least once, and you know how old people are; they'll tell you a dozen times. The power corporation has turned off my trust and turned on my anger. Believe it or not, there is community here. The people that work for the co-op like that we are a community. The office acts now like they're headquartered in Houston. Today I broke. Too much. It's worse here now than it was in the city when I left urban existence 35+ years ago. My very first Sparta experience popped into mind and gave me the needed laugh. I was brand new, first days. Did not know the road to town. Old man Tom told me how to get to town and told me to go to Wilco for gas. OK. Whatever. I went to Wilco. Then, the fall of 1976, Wilco was only pumps and a little island among the pumps with a white closet-sized space standing, an opening in the Plexiglas window to pay through. I didn't even see the man. A hand came out, took my money and went away. I thought of the black box bank with the slot for a coin and a white plastic hand that snatches it. I had thought I was going to a rural place where everyday life would be a little more personal than in the city. I never saw anything like that in a city. Never returned to Wilco. I can't really say the anti-personal attitude toward money is new in Sparta.
 
constantin brancusi, sleeping muse
 
Another one of my first experiences in Sparta, my friend Pat was visiting, we went to town to get some things. Ran out of what money we had and still needed a skillet. Oliver Sidden, then manager at Smithey's told me to take it and pay him when I'm able. He'd never seen me before. Of course, I took the money to him first day I had it. Some years later, I came to know Oliver, the man, and have a great respect for Oliver Sidden. He was a good man, good as they get. People said of him, Oliver likes to drink. So what. I respect a man that likes a drink. It means to me he likes to take his head out of his ass and look around every now and again. Sure, it's addictive. Ignorance is addictive too, and nobody has a problem with that. Of course, I'm talking about people of sensible behavior. People who destroy themselves on liquor would destroy themselves some other way if necessary. Everybody has their own way. And that's the beauty of an earth experience. The world around me grows increasingly anti-personal when I have sought all my life to live personally with the people around me, to regard the other as a valid human being and to be regarded same in turn. The people I spend time with are people I have such personal relationships with, like know them all their lives, whose parents and grandparents were my friends. The people I call my friends, I have deep personal associations with them where trust, respect and backup are concerned. My hillbilly family of friends are not guided by corporate-think, one of the many aspects of them I love. They don't think about the stock market. An exurbanite I used to know told me I was a fool for not following the stock market. I saw in my mind's eye three fingers pointing back at him. And I remembered what Jesus said about don't be calling somebody a fool. Not that I'm holding him to Jesus, just that I see the sense in it. It told me this is not my friend. In the first place, it was stupid. I have urban friends who followed the stock market and got ripped off big-time without recourse by the Bank. I trust former friend lost a fair amount too. I didn't get ripped off. But I do get ripped off by my own membership co-op at home. Gloryland looks better every day.
 
constantin brancusi himself
 
 
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2 comments:

  1. Oh my Gosh Tj...I know exactly the feeling of frustration on not having control of our lives any more...Everything is the bottom line and Money talks louder than any words will..and I do not even want to go up the frustrating road of medical...there is no reason at all in this so called affluent country we live in that any citizen should ever have to go without medical care because of money yet it is happening every day....okay...not going to get started on that...Relax, take a deep breath and do what you have to do to stay sane...

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  2. i hear you brother... feel your frustration......unplug them all i say....let them wither and die on the vine....wind/solar/homopathic....there are alternatives....we just have to stop listening to their commands like you did!! Hell Yea.....
    mbr

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