The health insurance game: freelancer special

Listening to: “Tiger, Tiger” – Bishop Allen

When I was in college, I was covered on my parent’s health insurance plan. After college, I had a full-time gig as an editorial assistant that provided some really crappy health insurance, but it still covered the big emergency stuff. I was laid off from that job in the spring of 2007, and I have been uninsured ever since then. I weened myself off the prescriptions I was taking at the time, and stopped going for annual appointments. If I’m ever in a fix (eye infection, sinusitis, stingray puncture, etc.), I go to urgent care centers and swallow the expense.

Do I want health insurance? Of course. Do I think I’m “invincible”? Of course not. I’m a freelance writer. Sometimes I’m a waitress. Last fall, I got laid off (again) from a “full time” job that didn’t give me benefits. These days, I live paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes without paychecks.

I live in Massachusetts, where supposedly healthcare is universal.


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Listening to: “I Wish I was the Moon” – Neko Case


No wait…that’s completely untrue. Rousing though, innit? Well happy new year anyway, bitchez. New Year’s Eve was punctuated by my ultra-schmexy hacking cough and snot-expelling, not to mention licking up fingerfulls of flaming Aftershock. Sounds a bit poetic, but I assure you I’m speaking literally–actual skeazy cinnamon liqueur on actual fire.

I rewatched Breakfast at Tiffany’s yesterday, for the first time in a few years. It’s always been one of my favorite movies, but this time around it hit me on a completely different level. When I first saw it I was maybe about 14. I was staying at my sister’s high-rise apartment on 6th Avenue, with the Chrysler building grinning at me out the window. Back then, it was to me a confirmation that New York was indeed as fabulous as I had always thought. Life was hadn’t yet begun, and I was on the cusp of everything.

The second time was when I was 16 or 17, at a theater back home that showed old movies. There was a lecturer who came up to speak about it beforehand, and he said some analytical stuff about the movie. I don’t remember what it was, but for some reason it distressed my mushy high school brain. “Audrey Hepburn’s pretty! She hosts cool parties! ‘Nuff said! Fuck off with your academic knowledge!” — said 16-year-old me.

I don’t remember the next time I saw it, but I do remember sometime in college that I went to actual Tiffany’s for the first time. I was with a friend toward whom I had no romantic feelings, but the dude behind the counter probably thought we were scoping out engagement rings or somesuch. I half-hoped to find a sterling silver telephone dialer, but no such luck.

But watching it yesterday was like… something new. I always liked the characters, for their distant quirks and general 1960s wackiness. But Holly Golightly never really made sense to me before. Her motives seemed unfounded and absurd. Why not just say fuck it and settle down with Paul, thought I in times past.

But now, I get it. I totally and completely get Holly’s neuroses. Her fear of commitment, her looming specter of urban poverty, her need to cover the emptiness of her life with a thick layer of glitz and mystique. And most of all, how she always wants to run away from everything.

Not to mention all the people at the party… that scene where the drunk woman’s laughing at her reflection in a mirror, and the next time they show her, she’s crying? She watches the mascara run down her own cheeks, presses her palm to the glass. Hit me so hard.

Holly and Paul are my age now, not distant images of a glamorous future. And the older I get, the less glamorous they seem. Instead, they’re real. Fleshy.

“I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together.”

S’true, Holly. S’true.