Monday, February 27, 2012


Lots of police action this morning at the Market. An older African-American man, hair the color of salt, zipped past me on his wheelchair.

"They looking for a man with a tattoo on his face," he said. "So be careful, lady. Be safe now, hear?"

He says this to me, a white middle-aged woman who commutes to his neighborhood from the green suburban comfort of mine. He commutes on a motorized wheelchair, subject to the whims of the weather, pedestrians, cars and buses, and errant bullets.

Safety is relative, I think, though in the past 2 months these five blocks I traverse morning and night have witnessed three shootings, one knifing, and multiple thefts. In 11 years I have never been threatened or harmed downtown, but the streets get uglier each day, and I worry about the man with the tattoo on his face.

The problem with the US health care is nothing Obama-Care or any other 'system' or technology can fix. Because it all comes down to the details, and the details are driven by humans, the good folks who deal out diagnoses and drugs, shunt bills and other assorted papers to the next mid-level manager, the receptionists fielding all the patients' calls for help.

If I charged my worth for every minute spent--arguing paid health bills; dickering over whether a procedure is fully covered; uncovering fraudulent providers trying to double-dip; showing up for appointments which never made it into the laboratory's electronic system; waiting my turn in physicians' offices; waiting for something remotely human to pick up the damn phone--I could retire already.

Enough of the kvetching. Some good news. Want to read an amazing novel? Check out David Benioff's CITY of THIEVES, a story about two unlikely comrades--an awkward Jewish teenage virgin and a charming Army deserter--in search of a dozen eggs during Germany's seige on Leningrad. My children expressed their concern for my emotional health as I alternated between laughter and sobbing over my toast and coffee.



  1. Seriously, Linda, I am starting to worry about you. I can't bear the thought of you wandering around the mean streets. What if something bad happens? Eegads, woman, move to Bracebridge, will ya? Be my neighbour. We can kvetch all day and not worry about getting shot. I know, it's closing my eyes to the world's terrible realities but at least you, my friend, will be safe.

    Am going to try to buy that book on my Kindle. Gosh that author is good looking...

  2. Ok! It's bought ... I trust you, girl... I want some laughing and crying going on.

  3. This sounds like a fascinating book. Much more importantly though I am joining Cathy is saying please take care of yourself.

  4. What a rollercoster of a post! Do take care on the streets. And yes, the incompetence of the healthcare system frustrates me too. And thanks for the book recommendation!


  5. Thanks for caring, friends. I DO telecommute more and more, and am going in only tomorrow this week. I think the worsening economy is mostly to blame--these folks in the inner city had less to start, and even less now.

    Ah David Benioff. He IS a looker. His wife Amanda Peet thinks so, too. I guess. But it did give me some consolation after crying my eyeballs out to flip over and stare at hime for awhile ;^)

    Hope you love Lev and Kolya as much as I do. Peace...

  6. Well, I think both you and Cathy should move to Paradise. That would be here, by me. Then we can have coffee and write and complain in peace. :)

    David Benioff? Isn't he a writer for the Game of Thrones series? Gosh, he is cute. I think I'll have to get that book too.

  7. Oh Linda--

    I thank the man in the wheelchair for warning you. He is a kind soul. I, too, do not like to think of you walking those streets and am glad you are telecommuting.
    The economy is circling the drain, and many people have a frustrated, desperate spirit.
    Life is especially difficult these days.

    Thanks for the book tip. I agree, the author is adorable. Amanda is lucky. David has hair just like my David. :)

    take care --

  8. The world definitely feels like its changing, but that's what my parents always said too. I think there are moments of 'relative' peace, but entropy is constant, unfortunately.

    Would love to read a book right now that could make me laugh and cry. Thanks for the suggestion.