Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life Through the Dark Eyes of Winter

"Life is only something taken for a moment, rubbed warm and held back from the chill… Winter waits and finds all life. In the end, each of us stares through the dark eyes of winter.”
 - Richard Nelson, The Island Within

I have lamented at length before about the state of customer service and how people now work for computers instead of vice versa. So let’s not talk about the trials and tribulations I’ve had with Blue Shield so-called health insurance; or with USAA bank, of all places.  

Except to say that Blue Shield was the only coverage I was unfairly permitted to “elect” by my retirement system and, although allegedly covered since 12/1, I have paid for most of my medical, dental and pharmaceutical care since I moved here in November and still have no proof of coverage.

As for USAA, they found the large deposit of the proceeds from the sale of my house confusing and after I transferred a large portion of the escrow deposit from my primary account to my household account their reaction was to simply initiate an investigation of possible fraud. The bank progressively inactivated my debit cards, then disabled the credit function of said cards, then declined my checks, and finally shut me out of both accounts. A week long death by a thousand fiscal cuts. They almost certainly notified me of the security alert, but since I had been locked out of online access, I have been unable to retrieve the messages I can see are waiting for me. 

Let's just say that repeated phone calls to so-called customer service representatives have been not only frustrating but fruitless.

Finally yesterday, I was able to sort out both problems. I was assured the check I wrote to the plumber would be honored. Today I was able to withdraw $500 to pay the yard guy who graciously waited a week for payment.  As a bonus, during the 45 cumulative minutes on hold with USAA, I was able to master the steps required to un-encrypt the proof of coverage Blue Shill has e-mailed me several times.

Instead of carping about the necessity of resorting to profanity to obtain customer service, I could blog about the cardiologist I waited 6 weeks to see only to miss the appointment by a day because I’d written it down wrong. When I called to apologize and reschedule I was told that they wouldn’t make an appointment for me because I was a no-show. I said that was probably just as well because the doctor was an asshole, and it turns out I was looking for somebody with compassion. Another 40 days to see another cardiologist.

I could blather about the degree to which mood swings have overtaken my life, but I have no constructive observations about how to avoid dizziness and palpitations when they leave me momentarily suspended over the precipice. I just hold on when things tip sideways, and take great comfort in feline companionship and hard cider. Nor can I impart words of wisdom for defending against panic attacks, or less severe quiet smothering of all confidence in dealing with the world. When I went to the gym this morning, I realized I hadn’t left the house for four days. From the weather, you’d never know. It’s perpetually damp and rainy, or cold and drizzly, or twilight at noon. Or it’s the middle of another night spotlighted by neighbors whose houses are too close and who are afraid of the dark and leave lights glaring in my bedroom windows all night.

Much other contemporary social media like FB and Instagram are hipstamatically illustrated, presenting curated lives of love, adventure and happy children; or posters of banal clichés (is that redundant?) or two sentences worth of pre-digested and misspelled thoughts some twit incorrectly assumed would interest the internets. Blogging seems positively relatively primitive anyway and requiring an attention span longer than a TV commercial.

Upon further thought however, my thoughts this gloomy afternoon can be summarized in two short sentences: It has been a long time since winter has found me. I had forgotten how much my mood is influenced by real winter.


Martha Toth said...

The sky is solid gray here, as night and snow approach. Put the snow shovel just outside the door so I can make a path to where I need to go. Moved my follow-up ENT appointment from the end of this month to day after tomorrow, because this is my 33rd day without hearing. There is something bizarrely isolating about that, even when you live alone. I agonize over caller ID, wondering whether I should answer. I CAN hear with the phone cranked up and pressed hard against my head, but it's tiring. Sat through an eight-hour meeting in a conference room last week with my hands mostly cupped behind my ears — which was exhausting — and still caught only a fraction of what was said. Have a meeting in two days where I (along with others) expect to be yelled at a lot, so maybe it is not an affliction without merit. Could really use pix of new life stirring and blooming out there to give me hope.
And I think it is not too soon to introduce a new kitty to the milieu. Don't think you would WANT to survive without a therapy cat. Keep thinking of the stressful period one little family is going through out there, and my reassurances that it won't last forever. Good thought for us, too: This, too, shall pass.

walk2write said...

Good Lord, it's a corporate conspiracy! Banks & insurance companies: ruination of us all because you can't avoid either one now. And to think it used to be as simple as death & taxes.