What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Inconvenience and Truth

by Ana Maria

Lately, I haven’t felt much like writing. My Creative Muses who usually inspire my writing have been silent. The utter inconvenience of living in the Katrina-ravaged area gets to and exhausts me—and I’m among the lucky ones. Though my mother’s house was substantially destroyed, the frame of the house remained. With tremendous thanks to my brothers, the inside was rebuilt, and we’re at least 90% back to pre-Katrina.

My mother never lived in a FEMA trailer. Truth be told, my mother’s name was put on the FEMA list and months later when we still hadn’t heard from Bush’s agency and one of my family members checked on it, FEMA couldn’t find her name. I imagine this was not a one-time FEMA flub. Thankfully, she lived with my brother in Georgia until the house got good enough for her to move in regardless of the inconveniences of living here.

To many of us online, the idea of our Internet provider being down about 90% of the time is a ridiculous notion, yet over the last month, that is what I experienced. Yesterday, I had BellSouth come in and switch me to its service. And service is what I got. REAL service—and I’m not just talking about access to the Internet.

I called BellSouth last week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday. They called me twice to confirm Monday morning’s appointment. Then, the guy showed up, on time, and with a smile on his face, nice as he could be. In no time flat, I had my Internet service switched, AND he ensured that I could get on before he left the house. What a breath of fresh air!

This isn’t just about being connected . . . to the Internet. Rather, it is about being connected to a lifestyle many of us expect because, well, we live in the United States of America. You know, things like calling up a company for a service, making an appointment to come to the house within a few days, and voila! The deed is done without blinking an eye or thinking two seconds about it.

For some reading this entry, this may seem like a big, “Uh, yeah. So what?” And that is my point.
It should be a big so what, but even two years after the worst natural disaster hit the area, it isn’t. And the ordeal is wearing thin on my nerves. I can only fathom how it is impacting others who’ve been here from the beginning. I just want the money to flow to the area. I just want Big Insurance to pay Big Time through signing into law the Multiple Peril Legislation that Congressman Gene Taylor championed a few weeks ago in the House of Representatives and in making Big Insurance subject to the same anti-trust legislation to which other industries are subjected. Both will take time to enact into law, and I look forward to those laws becoming reality.

I’ve been here six months. The newness has worn off, and the conditions of daily living are wearing thin. And I’ve only been here six months. My recent memories of going out to eat at any number of fabulous restaurants in San Jose or San Francisco, Calif., from which I had moved, remind me of life that should already have returned here.

Last night, I attended Congressman Gene Taylor’s Town Hall meeting in Long Beach, Miss. He talked a great amount of the time on the insurance reform bill he championed in the House of Representatives and the hope of it going through the Senate. Question after question pored from the audience, the overwhelming topic being residential and commercial insurance.

One woman told of how 25% ($20,000) of her family’s income is spent on family insurance coverage and the increase in homeowners and wind coverage. My goodness! 25% on insurance?! Here in South Mississippi. Well, yeah. Paying out that much of one’s income is no simple matter. On top of that, life’s simplicities—be it dependable Internet service or going to the movies or choosing from a wide variety of restaurants to eat out occasionally—are neither convenient nor so simple.

Simple like going to the movies. A new George Clooney movie is out. Like many a women, I’m a big fan. Great actor, terrific roles, and he’s very easy on the eyes plus that voice of his, not to mention that I like his politics, I grew up with his aunt’s singing, his father ran as the Democratic nominee for a congressional seat a few years ago . . . the list goes on. I want to see the movie.

But, geeze, where in the heck would I go to see it when it begins playing in “theaters everywhere”? Everywhere? Not around here. I don’t know of a theater within 30 miles. Is George Clooney worth driving several hours round trip? Hmmmmm. Not a trick question, but one that I’ll have to ponder a moment or two.

Of course, that isn’t the point specifically. The point is the utter intolerability of simple things being not so simple, of convenience we expect all over the country not being all that convenient, of the truth of these simple inconveniences wearing on everyone’s nerves—those living with it and perhaps those reading and hearing about it.

I was ever so happy to go see Inconvenient Truth the first night it played in San Jose, Calif. Now I live in an area of the country where inconvenience is the truth of our lives.

© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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