Monday, August 19, 2013

Escalades, Entourages and Me

I got my new insurance card in the mail Saturday. Robby, laughed and said, “Now you’re considered a real person in America.”

I haven’t had health insurance since I split with my ex four years ago. I’ve been lucky and only had a few minor trips to the ER and a few doctor visits during that dry spell. But what Robby said stuck a chord with me because I was treated differently when I didn’t have health insurance.

I couldn’t get a decent doctor to accept me as a patient even though I would offer to pay in advance—no insurance, no appointment. The doctor I did see was nuts, and I decided I was better off just hitting the urgent care office.

I don’t really understand what happened in our country when we felt it was okay to look down on people who can’t afford health insurance. As a matter of fact, I’ve realized this week how some people don’t think they have to treat other people with respect.

For example, I had to go to the T.I. concert in Savannah last week. I was the only media person invited and I was promised backstage interviews with all the talent—rapper T.I., EVE and Ashanti.

The EVE interview went great—she was very sweet and friendly and her handlers weren’t too bad.

Then with the Ashanti interview, I was turned away before the concert because they were running late. Then after the show, I had to wait for about 45 minutes and had to bully my way back into the dressing room. This is standard and I didn’t feel singled out—I just hate feeling like my time is not important.

Then, she wouldn’t turn to face me while I was talking to her—she was busy fixing her hair for photos. I said, “I guess I’ll just start asking questions and you’ll keep fixing your hair?”

Okay, I know I’m just a newspaper reporter, but come on now. Really?

I thought "she's one of those celebrities who refuses to make eye contact." I was relieved when she did finally turn around and look me in the eye while she was talking. I asked my three questions and left-- I realized I was getting tired and ready to go home.

T.I. still hadn’t shown up and I was really getting tired of being backstage. I started looking around and noticed that there are a couple of different groups of people backstage at a concert.

There was the entourage—of course that was the biggest group there since it was a hip-hop/rap concert. These are the people who don’t really have a purpose but find a way to seem important.

There are the people who are so star struck that every little glance at a celebrity makes them jump around and giggle—even grown men.

Then there are those of us who would just like to see the celebrities, ask a few questions, get a photo or two and go home, and if that doesn’t happen, then it’s no big deal.

I know there was definitely a time in my life when I used to look down on people. I didn’t understand that we have little control over our lives and the paths we may be forced to go down. I didn’t know that 
everything could change with the blink of an eye.

I never would have thought there would be a time when I was divorced with no health insurance and getting government assistance for my children’s health insurance. I never would have thought that I would have to start over financially and have to struggle so much. I mean, things like that don’t happen to good people who make good choices, right?

When you’re broke, it’s easy to envy people who have money. Sometimes I think, “If I just had a little more money in the bank, then life would be so much easier.”

I don’t doubt that’s true and I would be happy to try that experiment, but we all know life doesn’t work that way.

I would rather be broke than broken. I would rather be poor than treat people poorly. And I would much rather be right here where I am than back in my old life where I was miserable and not living the life I was meant to live—even though that life had a healthy monthly pay check, retirement fund and health insurance.
I never thought I would be backstage at a rap concert feeling sorry for the biggest star there—yes, I’m talking about T.I. who showed up very late and struggled to get out of his Escalade while everyone stood around staring at him in shock.  

Just because you pull up in a big shiny new Escalade doesn’t mean you have life figured out or that you are living it right. But, I’ll give T.I. and Tiny the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they were just exhausted from the tour.

I may not have much in my bank account, but at least I know I am a good person and I’m trying to live my life right.

But what’s more important, I now know that just because someone doesn’t seem that they are trying to live life right, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying. Maybe her downfall is not all her fault?

All I know is that you can keep your Escalades and the entourages. I’ll take my simple life and my little plastic insurance card. Of course, if money does happen to fall out of the sky, that would be okay, too.

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