succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, March 25, 2005

So yesterday was not the best day. Fortunately, I have amazing friends and parents who take me out for beer and surprise me with an Easter basket full of chocolate. The day started with a really crappy midterm...and ended with a memorial service for one of my students. Her name was Anoopa. The world may not know it, but it has been robbed of a great champion of causes that matter. As painful as the whole thing was, I cannot imagine a better measure of the quality of a person than the outpouring from Anoopa's friends yesterday.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I have become
I have become that girl
Whose short hair is swept up in short gusts of wind
Who has stopped noticing the seagulls overhead
Who stands impatiently in the street while traffic nips at her toes
Who cycles to work, weaving through insolent taxis at Euston Station
Who tries her best to ignore the relentless barrage of advertising that comes with city life
Whose gaze rests above you, through you.
Yet I have stopped ignoring friendly faces -
I look them in the eye and introduce myself.
I look for friendships in the grocery store and have hope in improbable romances.
I read my horoscope with secret hope and intense analysis.
I cook for one, read voraciously, and go for walks at night.
Instead of the bus to Chapel Hill I hope the train to Brussels.
The coast of West Africa has replaced Myrtle Beach.
My Dukecard has become a paycheck, paid in great British pounds.
And the Bryan Center caf has become the neighbourhood pub.
(My computer adds an apostrophe to caf and changes my spelling of neighbourhood to include a 'u')
South Carolina is France and Virginia is Scotland
Russell Sqaure is my chapel quad.
When I do attend a class these days,
The man who distracts me is of the older, married, father, doctor variety.
My support circle has become a line (consisting of two points).
The reliability of my comfort zone
Has been replaced with the romance of this solitary woman.
And the elation that comes
With the realization that I am great company
The kingdom of solitude has opened to me
I have become a queen.

Denise Anoopa Sharma

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Easter thought from Dad - "We used capital punishment on a guy, but later found out he was innocent. Have we learned nothing in the last 2,000 years?"

Meanwhile, I'm still in midterm/homework hell...for the moment, things seem to look up a bit in I may actually be around again in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Well, on the tiny bright side, at least now I'm getting all righteously indigant about something that calls for some righteous indignation, rather than silly sibling crap. Atrios pulls the key quotes, originally from here, but let's start with Tom DeLay's quote, "Mrs. Schiavo's life is not slipping away - it is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism." Sliding right over the nauseating use of terrorism in this context, let's jump to here, where we learn about a six month old boy who's life support was pulled, against his mother's wishes, because in Texas it's ok to refuse support of a terminal patient if neither the family nor insurance can afford to pay the bill. Or the 68-year-old (same link) who's life support is currently in jeopardy under the same Texas law. Interestingly, as Kleiman wisely points out, there are two differences between these cases and the Schiavo case:

1. Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, but isn't terminal. The two Texas patients were terminal but not vegetative. It seems to me that the distinction between a patient who is aware and a patient who isn't aware is the morally relevant one, while the disctinction between a death that is sure to occur soon and a death that is sure to occur eventually is morally irrelevant. (Try pleading as a defense to a murder charge that the victim had a terminal ailment.) (even more disturbing, the former is a morally relevant distinction while the latter is an economically relevant one - mp)

2. Terry Schiavo's husband has decided that she would have wanted to die, and the courts have upheld his view against the view of her parents. The mother of Sun Hudson wanted her child to live, and the wife and children of Spiro Nikolouzos want him to live. So while the Schiavo case is an intra-family dispute, the two Texas cases pit the families against health-care institutions motivated at least in part by financial considerations.

So my question (and plenty of others wonder this as well) - where's the outrage about all the other cases? Oh, I'm sorry, is Schiavo merely conventient? How repulsive can these people be? (for those who don't follow the links, here's the post from atrios)

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schivos because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

The dilemma

Ok, so it isn't a new one. Here's the story - Brad is visiting this weekend and he was supposed to get in around 11:30 this morning. But he called earlier to say his flight was already at least an hour delayed and he'd probably be getting in closer to 12:30 or 1. So I get home this morning, check in with him around noon, the cell goes straight to voicemail, so I assume he's still on the flight. I leave him a message to call when he lands and proceed to sit around and wait. A little after 1 I start to get worried. I check the flight number that he sent me, and supposedly that flight landed on time at 11:30. Ok, so it's possible that he missed that flight and is on another one. I sit and stew. 2:00 rolls around. I'm worried. Ten minutes later he finally calls, all normal, hey, I just got in, this place is a madhouse, I'll be there soon. So I want to bring it up when he gets here, say something about how the website must have been mistaken because it said his flight was on time and see what he says. But I don't want him to think I check up on him because then he'll start telling me even less than he already does. So the general question is - do I humor my brother too much? I know I ask this just about every time I see him. And part of me thinks I should just settle for the disfunctional relationship that we do have, because he seems to like me, and we get along ok, and he does tell me some things, and siblings should sort of play nice, right? On the other hand, it's a pretty one-sided relationship that ends up costing me emotional energy. Which isn't the healthiest thing ever. But would I really get anything out of some sort of confrontation with him? Or not even a confrontation, just a cessation of tolerating all the little things he does, all the little lies I know he tells, that I let slide?