Lower, lower,…keep going

Not feeling it today. Not feeling as though I can do this life thing. I’m not suicidal or anything dramatic like that, but feeling like – one more time – everybody else got the game guide, but I must have missed it somewhere along the line. I don’t know quite which move to make next.

Called the ACA people back. I keep getting the same letter from them, saying verify income. I had to look and see how they wanted me to do that, since I have no income, and read that I should subit my 2020 income tax return. So, I did that, noting the irony of filing an income tax return when I have no income. But, I did it, uploaded it. End of story.

Um, no. Same letter keeps coming back – verify income. So, I uploaded the damned tax return again. *beep**beep* Same letter. Verify income.

So, I called them. To my surprise, a very short wait for a representative. The nice lady a couple of days ago explained that my healthcare.gov application contained an income figure that did not match what was on my income tax return. I explained that I had been told to submit an estimate of what I expected when I was able to be hired for a new job. That’s what was on the application, so they now expected that amount to be reflected on my tax filing. Um, no…I am still unemployed.

No problem, said the nice lady. Just upload that explanation, and they will put that in your file and get back to you. Is there anything else I can help you with? Thanks, no – I can do that, and will do it right now. So I did.

In a newfound spirit of follow-through, I decided to check on things again today, so I called back. The representative I spoke with was also very nice, very helpful, but she may as well have shot me. With a gun. Multiple times, ensuring that I had died.

She said that if I did not meet the estimate, which is what the subsidy was based on, I would have to pay back the amount of the subsidy. That was for last year. If I did not resolve that, they would remove the subsidy for this year, and I would have to pay the full amount of the policy premium out of pocket.

There was a high-pitched ringing sound in my ears, and I think a fly buzzed nearby…and there was some hammering going on, for the gallows, I assume…or maybe just a coffin. I made some kind of sound, and she asked me to repeat. I squeaked out that I would not be able to pay that premium, which is $935 or so monthly. Sounding genuinely apologetic, nice lady said that my explanation letter was still in process, but I could ask for an extension. *gulp*

I asked how in the heck I was supposed to pay back money that I had asked for because…I didn’t have any money. She asked me how I was living, and I said I am living from savings, which is true. It’s what my mother left for me when she died, and if I have to spend it in triple time, I will be living under the bridge in no time flat. I assume the nice lady was nodding in that customer service kind of way, but she had no advice, other than to advise me that I would need to make an income of at least $12,400 a year (poverty level) to qualify for the Affordable Care Act subsidy.

So. Let me get this straight. I have to have an income to get help paying for health care because I don’t have any income? Yup, pretty much. And where exactly was that in the application instructions? Oh, it should be in there somewhere. I said can I just contribute the poverty level from my savings, as though it was income? Interesting question, but probably not.

OK, then. I’m done. This probably means my income tax return was totally erroneous, which I suspected, but I don’t know. At this point, I am not sure I even care, except that I need to do what I need to do in order to keep insurance. And I am not willing to have that effort involve becoming destitute. Not gonna happen.

I’m not feeling much like doing much of anything right now, but I am going to go back to looking for a job online at a feverish and frantic pace. At this point, it really doesn’t matter what the eff it is, because nobody gives a damn if I’m happy with it or not, just bring in a paycheck so another ledger book, another spreadsheet, can have every cell filled. Just play the game.

I don’t want to play any damned games. My life is not a game, Health care is not a game. It might be a little less pressure if I could procure the necessary services at some vaguely reasonable rate, but that’s not the case. One month’s prescriptions would put me into collections, two months and I probably could not pay rent, or put gas in my 20-year old truck. So, WTF America?

I had already applied for the job I really want, but I may not have the luxury of waiting on them to get their act together and meditate on all the resume’ submissions. I may have to take whatever I can get, probably something generic like customer service, so I can give people the kind of abysmal news that I just got. I can’t wait.

In all seriousness, as flummoxed and generally disgusted that I am at the moment, I still understand, and appreciate, the choices I have. I understand that I have choices a lot of other people in the same position don’t have. In reality, this is a speed bump. It’s a hard bump that may require me to replace my oil pan and/or get a wheel alignment, but it’s not going to kill me. It just feels that way.

Listening to the news this morning, I find that i have absolutely no sympathy for the likes of Congressional members who are wringing their hands over how they’ll vote on the Presidents initiatives, as presented in his joint session of Congress night before last. You S.O.B.s know what’s needed, and please don’t insult my intelligence attempting to convince me that you’re seriously considering any of that with an open mind. Do the right damned thing, and not what floats your personal boat. You know the difference.

Listening to the machinations of perverts and grifters offering ridiculous explanations and excuses for their illegal, immoral, unethical, stupid behavior is even more nauseating than usual. “We thought the girl was 19, but she turned out to be only 17. ” “I didn’t take money from a Ukranian oligarch just for myself, it was for my job as the President’s private attorney. I did nothing wrong…except that I forgot to file the right paperwork on that. ONE TIME!” “We paid women for sex all the time. Everybody knew that.” Sickening.

These f*ckers get to carry on all this crap, some of it with taxpayer money, all of it against the inherent etchics and dignity of their offices, and this is the first consequence they have seen. This has been going on for years, and years, and right now their only consequence is may – MAYBE – embarrassment. For some of them, even that is not the case. After you’ve been on international television with shoe polish dripping down the side of your face I guess everything else is gravy.

I can descend a lot lower, and I don’t want to. I’m not entirely sure where the hell I am at this point…am I supposed to just hang it up and get a parking spot under the bridge? Am I supposed to do what I always do and pull a rabbit outta my hat and tell Bullwinkle to watch? Am I supposed to lower my standards, lower and lower, to abandon my aspiration to do something meaningful and worthwhile for the rest o my productive lifespan? OK, maybe that’s a little overdone…but I am prone to the dramatic.

In all seriousness, I am feeling somewhat defeated. I was just beginning to feel as though I could make it, that something was going to break through just around the next curve. Now, I’m not at all convinced of that. I won’t die, I know that, but I’m kind of tired of having the dream die…only to have life breathed into it time after time, like a deflated balloon that is re-inflated out of some obligation to optimism, to hope. Tired of that, and the skin of the vessel is growing thin. It may give way after one more push.

I am going through all of this for some reason, I just don’t know what that might be. When I say things like that, some of my friends say there really isn’t a reason, things just happen and there usually isn’t a reason. Reason might be the wrong word, but I can’t think of any one thing in my past that I could do without and still be right here, right now, typing this diatribe.

Time moves too slowly if you’re waiting for something, and too fast if you already have it. I suppose if you don’t know whether you’re waiting for “it”, whatever “it” might be, time just sort of perches atop your head, like a personal rain cloud that is just waiting to precipitate. You always know it’s there, and it blocks the light, and makes things rather cool on your surface.

But, as Credence Clearwater Revival said in a song once…have you ever seen the rain, comin’ down on a sunny day. I have. Sometimes it’s quite a profound thing, when the sub breaks through the clouds at just the right angle and the raindrops release a thousand miniscule rainbows in a descending curtain of shimmering color, each one a sparkling precipice of a dream. At least that’s how I see it.

Today, it’s sunny outside. The only rain is happening inside my head, dousing my hopes and my inspiration and my dreams for a better tomorrow. I know this too, shall pass. I’ve been taught that for a good many years. Change is the only thing we can count on. Yeah, I get all that.

Sometimes, however, it just doesn’t feel all that good. Sometimes, it’s a big deal to just get out of bed and do responsible things like go to the bathroom and roll over. I think that’s OK some days, but I really do not want to invite all the other unbidden and unwanted dark thoughts into my space today. I’m wrestling a little with the ones I’ve loved and, not so much lost, but wouldn’t sing with me, wouldn’t walk with me, wouldn’t be with me. When I love people, it’s pretty much a forever kind of thing, no matter how shitty I act around them or whether I am even civil to them. They have no idea what’s going on in my head, or my heart, and that’s a good thing. That wall of disdain is the only thing I have to protect me, and without it, I just might cease to be.

So, Affordable Care Act, IRS, all you job search engines…bring it on. I feel like I got slapped down this afternoon, but I’ll be on my feet again in a bit. It’s going to take a lot more than generic bureaucracy and bad public policy to kill me. Many have tried and failed, and still…here I am. Rock you like a hurricane.

That last bit was…frightening. I don’t even know who sang that god-awful song “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, but it is ubiquitously a heavy metal downer, at least in my book. It must be time for a nap, before I de-evolve into bad music of the 80s, which would be most unfortunate.

How I’m feeling right now. Seriously.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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