WHY CAN’T ANYONE DO ANYTHING RIGHT? I found myself mumbling that at my computer today. I have been saying it a lot lately, as a matter of fact. This sounds incredibly arrogant, but it just so happens that I’ve come face to face with way too many blunders and dropped balls for my patience lately, and I am yearning for something resembling a well-oiled machine right about now.
Exhibit A: I was supposed to teach a class online beginning the last Friday of August. The Monday before that I was told it’s probably not running. I had spent a week crafting a syllabus on a subject I know very little about – classical Greek literature. Like, I listened to the audio play of Antigone! (I wrote Aphrodite first because that’s how little I know about this mess). And for this non-existent job, I also had to scurry down to Wilshire Boulevard and wend my way through a mega Staples store in order to find a sad little office where I was to secure my background check. Actually, the young woman processing the whole thing was very efficient – and lovely to talk to. So there’s one well-oiled machine/person. But it cost me $130! And why did I have to get a third background check in 5 years, you might ask? Well, because “New York state has its own code,” I was told. By the way, I am insisting on reimbursement for this; a sad little display of protest on my part.
Speaking of codes, I have been battling the insurance company since last November regarding the cost of a procedure coded “diagnostic,” when it was merely “preventative.” The latter meaning that my crappy insurance actually covers it. But the quack doctor I found through my scientific study of physicians within a 30 mile radius who are women wrote down the wrong code on the referral. So the office where said procedure was performed insisted that I owed them an extra $600. After multiple phone calls, emails, and vapid “decision letters” from the insurance company which simply restated the issue and then resolved that I owed $600, a saint named Francis called me one day. Francis might be a smoker; she had that Brenda Vaccaro kind of voice. (You’ve got to be of a certain age to know that reference). Francis was the first person who understood the crux of my issue, and — with only slight requirements of small talk — after a month, Francis called me personally (on a Friday night) to tell me things were taken care of. She then had a coughing fit and had to hang up abruptly. I really hope she’s okay.
And don’t get me started on unemployment insurance. They stopped paying me. Okay, fine; it was good while it lasted. But then they said I owed them money because I apparently have an excellent chance of signing a new contract with my past employer (on the other side of the country), according to their algorithm or whatever calculus they use to make things up and torture people. The last time that I worked for said employer was December 2021, and nobody’s knocking at my proverbial door. So I’m pretty sure they do not plan to sign me up for any kind of lucrative position in the foreseeable (as in ever) future.
And have you ever had a suction-cup bathroom shelf or caddy actually stay in place?! I mean just when you think it’s finally decided to stay up there — crash – in the middle of the night, you and your cat are startled awake by the sound of something that could be an intruder but that turns out to be nothing more than your Paul Mitchell shampoo rolling around the bathtub floor.
I guess it’s not always that people don’t do things right, but that the communication (or lack thereof) obscures any possibility of foreseeing issues, understanding problems, or answering questions. And you know what’s funny, none of this matters. Not one bit. There is nothing I can do by worrying, stressing, or fixating on these things. As my devotional this morning read in part, “You are… looking at difficult times looming ahead… However they are not today’s tasks – or even tomorrow’s. So leave them in the future and come home to the present…” (Jesus Calling).
Or as Matthew writes in chapter 6, verse 34 of the Bible, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
There is so much good stuff in my life – I won’t bother naming it all. But I just felt like illustrating to myself – and anyone else interested – all the mess, miasma, and michigas that can fill our heads and take up space from way deeper thoughts.
It’s a lifelong practice putting worldly worries behind us. It’s also a privilege afforded some more than others. So, having that privilege, relatively, I will turn my back on insurance companies, unemployment agencies, doctor offices, and disorganized group leaders. Instead I’m going to send some mental thank-you notes to all the good people in my life!
Dear… Thank you!