Caroline (kittytech) wrote,

A Little Bit of Perspective

For the last couple of days or so my Thanksgiving plans have kind of
been up in the air. The most recent plan was that I'd be joining a
co-worker and her family for tomorrow's festivities. Unfortunately, the
weather that we've been having might make that impossible because she's
about an hour away from me, and driving that far, especially when
there's blowing and drifting snow isn't safe. The alternative, of
course, is to spend the holiday alone. This is never a nice thing to
have to do, but before this co-worker offered to let me join her family,
I was pretty much resigned to it, and, even kind of looking forward to
it, and I was going to spend it on Skype with masterofmusings, who took these days off when we still thought
that he was going to be coming down to visit me for the holiday. Then,
this offer came up and I was thrilled. It meant a real meal, and lots of

So, then this weather thing came up. Things are still not set in stone
as far as tomorrow goes, but apparently it's not looking good for any
kind of travel in the morning. This means that, once again, I'm back to
the original plan. In preparation for this, I've ordered one of those
grocery store fully-cooked turkey dinners; turkey, mashed potatoes,
gravy, stuffing, corn, dinner rolls, and, of course, pumpkin pie. I
intend to do a heck of a lot of freezing, and have purchased tons of
plastic containers. But, to me, the idea of spending tomorrow alone
after looking forward to physically being with people was really
bothering me. Obviously there's nothing I can do about it, but it
doesn't mean that I have to like it. So, I've been listening to people
all day doing the "happy Thanksgiving" thing, and I've been getting
ornerier and ornerier. (Is that even a real word? Well, it is today.)
Anyway, I've been cranky and just feeling kind of sorry for myself -
let's face it.

Then, I made a phone call to schedule a hearing. The claimant I spoke
with can't work, she has no money, she's living in a house that a family
member owns, she's relying on her daughters for food, transportation,
and whatever else she needs, she's going to a clinic set up for people
who have no money, and she's facing potential surgery that she has no
money to pay for. I'm normally on the phone with these people for maybe
two minutes at the most, but somehow I think we were on for closer to
fifteen or twenty minutes, which is pretty much unheard of. The thing
is, I typically don't deal directly with the claimants here unless
they're unrepresented, and then most of the time they haven't bothered
to keep their contact information updated so I can't get in touch with
them anyway.

After talking with this lady though, it really got me thinking. Like
most people, I get up in the morning and complain and grumble about how
early it is, and how I have to go to work, blah blah blah. I complain
about my apartment and the building management. But, at least I have a
job. I have a roof over my head that, while it's not technically mine
since I'm renting, it's still a place that I can call home. I have food,
and I've got a reliable place to store it. Last week when I chipped a
bone in my elbow and had to go to urgent care I put down $40 in cab
fares to get me where I needed to go. I definitely don't take that for
granted because I've been where these people are now, and I still
remember how much of a struggle even $2.50 was at times for a
Para-transit ride to go somewhere. But, if the need arises, I know I've
got health insurance and mostly reliable transportation.

I guess that talking to this lady just really helped me to kind of put
things into perspective a bit more. Yes, I'm going to be alone tomorrow.
I'll still have Bruce via Skype, and he's got his apartment all to
himself tomorrow. And, I've got what sounds like a really good meal with
plenty of left-overs that'll last me a really long time. Does this mean
I like the idea of being home tomorrow? No, but at least I've been
reminded that things could always be worse, and, in fact, have been
worse. Yes, I'd still love to actually be with people tomorrow in
person, but I realize now that it's truly not going to be the end of the
world if I can't go.

This is, I suppose, the time of the year when many people start to
reflect on what they've got and what they don't have. Surprisingly
enough, I think this is the first year this kind of thing has truly been
brought home to me. I don't want to forget where I've been. I think that
in many ways it helps me to be able to relate to the people who are
calling in. When I used to have to call into the call center with Social
Security, I often felt like many of the people were talking down to me
because I was on disability. I want to be able to talk with the people
not as a superior, but as an equal. I want them to know that I do feel
for their situation, and I want to do my part to try to let them know
that they're not alone. I normally keep anything job-related out of my
public entries here, but I'm breaking my own rule, at least for today.
Even though I don't know for sure what's happening tomorrow, I really am
going to try to make the best of my situation, and to be more positive
about it than I've been. Whatever happens, I'll make it through. I hope
that everyone reading this has a great Thanksgiving too, however you
plan to celebrate it.

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