So, yes. I finally got off the blowup mattress when I heard the conversation turn. How does a typical American not meet a Mormon until they reach graduate school?
The Mystery was solved by the time I had had my coffee.
If you grow up in a community of only a particular type of Christians, then go to private particular type of Christian school, then go to a a particular type of private Christian college, you may never meet a Mormon.
The same is true if you grow up in an all white community. The same is true if you grow up in a community that has only English speakers.
So, you know, if you hate Muslims or are afraid of them, maybe you should try meeting some.
If you’re afraid of Mideast or Gulf nationals, maybe you should try meeting some.
So here we are-past forty, approaching forty-and I’m on the floor with a blow up bed, alone for a change. So here we are in a house in the northeast, and we are one to a sleeping spot. So here we are, reality check, our successes are multitude. But we are chased by debt and desire and what we prepared for life to be. One of us has the child we all desired. One of us has the book we all desired. One of us has the tenure track position we all desired. All of us are tired, underpaid, unsure of our future. Three of us have the advantage of citizenship. One of us is doing what she swore she’d never do-applying for jobs in a place she cannot drive because there she will be guaranteed healthcare. We are all smaller than the people we wanted to be. There are more of us far-flung and close to our meeting spot. But we are smaller than we meant to be-unless you hear our students. A bit of each of us has made the young people, the millennials who will rise from the ashes. None of us wants to be the ashes.
It’s this that finally forces me off the dining room floor.
“I didn’t meet a Mormon until college.”
“It was grad school for me.”
Part of me thinks that we’re too old for this. Four of us having managed to converge in one place at one time. Sleeping arrangements have one of us on the sofa, one on a futon, one on the dining room floor, one in the spare bedroom. We’re not good at being quiet and terrible at going to bed at a reasonable hour.
Still, during those years up North. No really, UP NORTH! We spent years together 175 miles from the Arctic Circle. Still during those years up North, we often found ourselves three to a futon, four on the ground, two to the bed, two more on the ground, and occasionally someone in the bathtub. Crashed out far too late after ridiculous conversation or in depth discussion or that time we had to watch that terrible film for class that they tell me I finally just fast forwarded through–on VHS. That it was VHS should tell you a bit about why I think we might be too old for crashing at a three in the morning on a friend’s floor.
The last time we gathered, two of us quietly admitted that we were unemployed. You know, like people with advanced degrees who couldn’t get a job, or people with advanced degrees who were between gigs, or people with advanced degrees who just, just, just….
This time though we’re more settled. All of us are on the job market, but we’re also all working. We didn’t expect to be facing our forties just short of the end of a nasty recession. I, and may more of us, can see the millennials as beacons of hope. They keep going where I feel stalled. They see equality, where I see difficulty. They see, and I do not.
Smarter than You Think
My niece is three. She can, from the evidence, open a drawer and the box inside it. She can fish out a set of ultrasound pictures of my ovaries-taken a year ago at a Kuwaiti hospital-then leave them on a shelf in the bathroom.
Those ultrasound photos cost me precisely 3.450KD (KD work on a 1000 cent system). The cyst that shows up on those photos has grown and is kinda stabby all the time. With insurance the first-insurance recommended provider-ultrasound in the USA cost me at least $900 (274.186 KWD). There are still more bills to be delivered. My insurer paid their own chunk prior to my receiving these bills. Without question, I had reasonably good insurance in Kuwait. I have better insurance in the USA than most academics I know.
I see where the latest proposed healthcare bill before the US congress is going. I see the health-insurance marriages, the cancer-cost struck divorces, the preventable but too costly deaths by disease. I see my inability to support my father and his wife when their medicare funded jobs disappear. They both work with the elderly, the poor, and the dying.
I see my own asthmatic future sans healthcare. And I am left to wonder why anyone-especially me- wouldn’t leave America for health insurance elsewhere.