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.