Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maybe I need more chocolate in my diet

posted 05/06/08

So I have been on this crying jag that won’t end. I don’t know what’s going on. Yesterday, I got an explanation of benefits for a doc visit I had last month and it said I would owe $298 for the visit, even though I had seen an in-network doctor and the charges were allowable. I felt the blood drain from my face and my stomach start to turn. I had been so careful to find an in-network doctor and to check with the insurance company to make sure he was still in the network and to read the benefits brochure to make sure my stuff was covered and then I got this notice that I would be paying oh, $268 more than I thought.

One of my greatest fears is being poor, which is why I am a thrifty person. I buy the bruised apples from the bargain table because they cost $0.75/lb less than the regular ones. I don’t buy produce out of season. I get movies from the library for free rather than renting from Blockbuster. It goes without saying that I don’t buy books, either, even though I am a voracious reader. (Or maybe because.) I go to the cheap magazine website for my subscriptions. I buy my clothes at thrift shops. I do my own yardwork and minor house repairs. If I could figure out how to generate my own electricity cheaper than I could buy it, I would. I don’t waste money.

I don’t do this so I can have extra money to pay $298 for a doctor’s visit that I thought was going to cost $30. I do it so I can buy shoes. And pay off my mortgage early. And so I’ll have money when I’m old, because if history teaches me anything, it’s that I will probably live to at least 95, which means I have 51 years of expenses ahead of me.

So to learn that I would have this expense after I thought I had done everything right was more than I could bear. Serious Honey said not to worry, that we would pay it, that it wasn’t a big deal. Even after I called and learned there had been a coding error and that I didn’t owe the money, I was upset. SH didn’t understand. I tried to explain my (irrational, I hope) terror of being poor, but couldn’t.

Then we watched “The Color of Paradise,” which I had seen before, so I knew to be sad from the very beginning. When the sweet, loving little blind boy’s father shows up a day late to pick him up from the blind school to take him home for the summer and the little boy, Mohammed, is weeping as he tells his father he thought he had forgotten him, I started to cry. SH asked why. “Because it’s so sad,” I told him. “How could someone not want this sweet, sweet little boy?”

I cried when Mohammed was reunited with his grandmother and he stroked her gnarled, leathered hands and told her how beautiful they were. I cried when the grandmother didn’t want to let him go to school with his sisters because his father didn’t want anyone in the village to know about his blind son. I cried when the father tricked Mohammed and dumped him off with a blind carpenter to be an apprentice without even letting the little boy say goodbye to his grandmother and sisters. I cried when Mohammed wept because he had been abandoned and thought that nobody loved him, even God, because he was blind. It was a cryfest all around.

Even when the movie was over (and if you’ve seen it, you know the ending and that’s all I’ll say), I kept crying just thinking about it. Poor SH couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and neither could I.

“Maybe I’m scared of being dependent on you,” I said, which I meant as in I have not been financially dependent on another person since I finished college and even though in theory, I have no problem with married women being dependent on their husbands, it is a very different thing when it’s me, who is used to running my own life and making all my own decisions, financial and otherwise, to suddenly feel like I can’t spend any money because I didn’t earn it even though SH is very generous and an excellent provider and has never, ever, ever implied anything of the sort and who even pointed out that I am the one bringing the assets to this marriage and that we wouldn’t be able to afford the house we’re buying if it weren’t for the down payment coming from the sale of my house in Memphis.

But, as I pointed out to him, logic and emotion have nothing to do with each other and I am a total control freak, so here I am about to surrender control of my life so I can share it with him, which I very much want to do because he is the Love of My Life and I am crazy about him and so happy we found each other, but my emotions are saying that if I cannot earn my own way, I am in big trouble. Why won’t my emotions listen to my brain?

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