According to a few outspoken voices, it’s been a slow month in Curacao. Can’t say I’m disappointed. The fewer the merry-er, worst-writer always says. And as others say: good things come to an end. After ten days of too much sun and lots of scuba and no crowds, the hammer hits. We had two dives yesterday and then went out to fill up the car, get more soda-water and have lunch. Upon returning to our rental bungalow, for the first time, we hear music bellowing from the pool. And not just any music. OYG! Country music. Do you know what country music reminds me of, dear worst-reader? It doesn’t remind me of rednecks, their trucks, runaway girlfriends and the love of dogs. No. It reminds me of politics run amok and a country on the verge of pure and utter social anarchy. Country music, as much as I love to listen to it while chewing tobacco (which I dearly miss giving up so many years ago), reminds me of everything that is wrong in #americant today. Police killing people becasue they can’t run after them and they represent an authoritarian state that people can’t run away from (fast enough). Banks ripping the country off while no one watches. Seriously. Complain about things as you will. That’s easy. Don’t try to read as much as I have about how you screwed yourself consuming to survive off of credit and the banks are still laughing. Then there’s the empire’s military that fights wars costing millions of lives so that a few corporations can make more money than God. Etc., etc. But I digress.
There’s a saying I learned from my paw when I was young who always listened to country music while sitting in front of his open garage door that never housed a car but where he could dream of having a decent paying job and a half decent life while working to his death and disappointing his wife, his kids and the other man that occupied his dreams. Yeah. Country music was playing in the southern caribbean sea. It was playing as though, through the miracle of self aggrandizing entitlement, it was the new voice of an already downtrodden region of the world, middle and south America, where tyranny in the name of THIS IS OUR HEMISPHERE politics wielded a heavy hammer upon the minds and bodies of those whose skin isn’t quite white enough. And worstwriter, who so inelegantly ran away from the tyranny-aftermath of hemisphere politics, takes a wild guess on a vacation destination only to find some dumb-ass pseudo southern draw spewing forth coded hate and bigotry from a battery operated radio a’la nineteen seventy-something. Oh. Wait. The saying. The saying my paw taught me. I forgot the saying. Slipped right off my tongue. Yeah, that happens when I start worst-writing. Indeed. And so.
Meeting a lot of Americans in Curacao. Conversation usually starts thus: “So where you from?” My response is always: “Originally?” But eventually it comes out. They hear me speak, fluently (I guess) another language. “But you’re not German,” they say. Then some stupid ass conversation which I always hope is only about the weather–but never is–ensues. “No, that’s right,” I say. And then I just throw it out there. “I’m an expat, Mam or Sir. Been living happily-ever-after in another country for quite some time. Going on quarter century, in fact.” There’s usually a few duhs and ohs that follow. Again. Redneck code for “you mean, you’ve found happiness and tranquility outside the bosom of the greatest and most exceptional country in the world?” Seriously, dear worst-reader. This is how it goes. And only because I don’t really know how to hold a nothingness conversation with people. My bad, eh! Nomatter.
The problem is, the fuck-offs! can’t exit my brain fast enough in this situation. Yet this is what lingers with me after being reared in America, by Americans–the nicest fucking people in the world. Or? But I don’t want to get too deep into my obsessions about expatriating or my frustrations with having learned so much about who I am and where I come from by being so far outside its bubble. This whole worst-blog is full of enough of that (good luck finding it). It’s just that the conversations with my (former) countrymen (that’s right, I’ve long gone “native”) only leads me to anger and frustration. For one thing, at least three of the Americans I’ve met here have talked to me about health insurance after I mention I live in Germany. This can only mean two things. 1) They are somewhat informed, albeit via what sources?, and 2) they question the issue of health insurance because they fail to understand the reality to which they are glued. On the other hand, I try steer the conversation elsewhere. E.g. Can’t we talk about scuba, how beautiful the coral reefs are, the friendly people that live and struggle on this island without the “benefits” of being the greatest nation on earth (sarcasm off)? Nope. Americans are starving for answers or justifications for all the problems that no one seems to understand, let alone to have actually thought about them. And so. It usually starts thus: “Now how does that work over there (in Germany) with health insurance?” Or it goes thus: “Is it true that you have health insurance no matter what?” And this one’s the best: “That damn Obama Care is ruining my health insurance.” And remember, dear worst-reader, the last one, the one about Obama care, can be sung just like a country song. Yeehaw Heehaw!
The biggest problem with talking about rational things with irrational people (and pretty much all Americans–including moi–are irrational these days) is that the conversation must be a two lane road. But like many of the roads on Curacao, America is wide enough for two cars to drive it, but the lines separating direction does not exist. Eventually on such a road everybody goes one way. It’s called The Lemming Highway. And you know the old saying that is the life blood of subjecting oneself to authoritarian, centralized, Lemming rule: it’s my way or the highway, baby. But I’ve rambled, aka worst-written enough about irrational people. So let me get to the gist of this worst-post.
When talking about health insurance in the United Mistakes of Americant you must first talk about society. To talk about society you must face certain realities. For one thing, America will probably (and I’m being very liberal here) never have a socialized health care system like other western countries. The reason for that depends on how you view things. Do you view things in terms of “every man for himself” or do you view things “we’re in this together”? Gettin’ rich can be an individual thing. But gettin’ sick obviously ain’t. Yet we (dare I include worst-moi) live THE DREAM according to the former and not the latter. Which brings me to the subject matter that everyone hates, fears and just can’t get a grip on: Politics. When the country-music couple almost ruined our pool-side afternoon vacation nap yesterday I realized that the best way to get THEM to turn off the scary music is to get them to complain about… That’s right. You guessed it. Their hate of government, Obama and how expensive health insurance is. And once their bitchin’ and moaning is over, I throw in this one:
“Well, you know. I’ve never even seen a doctor bill.” There’s a long pause as I continue to swim around the pool, listening to the birds sing in the human silence of astonishment. “No, seriously,” I continue. “I don’t know how it happens, man. You know, in most western, civilized, rational countries you’re just health insured. And you know how they do that? They simply say that when you’re sick–and everyone gets sick–we’re in this together. How difficult is that? Sure, lots of people get rich off of getting sick but that’s besides the fucking point. That’s another issue. Seriously. I’ve had one minor surgical procedure, I get regular checkups, dental work, etc., and I’ve never even seen a doctor bill. In fact the only doctor bill I’ve ever seen is from when I got gold caps on my teeth. All I had to pay for was the gold. And all you (#americants) can do is bitch about how expensive your deductible is? US corpo-politicians have been pounding your ass while you’ve been riding the laurels of the past and you confused it with tickling. So stop giggling your way through life high on country music. You’ve bitten the hook, line and sinker of the way things are so there’s no room for complaining anymore–unless you turn it into a media industry like faux newz. Is there a way to fix things, i.e. get affordable insurance? No. For you it’s game over. You’re fucked! At least you can look back and see how easy and enjoyable it was getting to where you are. You’re reaping what you’ve sown. But if you put some effort into it you might be able to scrounge up some civiility and decency for your kids and grand kids. Good luck suckers.”
Full stop. Breath.
I took a deep breath and went under the water of the pool. Two minutes later I emerged and the privileged rednecks and the country music were gone. Did I dream the whole thing? Probably. But at least it gave me something to worst-write about this morning.
Rant on. -Tommi