Friday, May 28, 2010


I looked at the little woman, riding in the elevator with me, and I realized she represented current America – bitter, confused and lied-to!
by Charlie Leck

It was, I hoped, my last visit to the eye specialists. My eyes were repaired. They seemed to be working as well as I had hoped. My new sets of eye-glasses were either on my head or packed in the little cases I was carrying in my hand. Because I couldn’t locate the staircase, I took the elevator down to the main floor of the building. I was glad to be leaving the joint behind me. It was fun to see bright colors and sharp edges again, but I’d had enough of the place and they had too much of my money. As I moved into the cabinet of the elevator, I was giving thanks for Medicare and our good supplemental insurance plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Four or five people accompanied me on the very quick trip down to the main floor, including a little lady of about my own age. She seemed jittery and nervous. Like many people, I thought, she didn’t like elevators. Something made her blurt out her news to the group of fellow passengers, apparently all strangers to each other.

“I had this cataract surgery early, you know,” she said to us all, as if we cared. “I didn’t really need it yet, but I wanted to get it before Obamacare goes into effect.”

No one reacted to her. I saw a couple of medical types (they were wearing those cheesy uniforms that surgeons and their assistants don at work) glance quickly at each other.

“Well,” the lady spoke up again, “they’re going to filter seniors out, you know.”

Silence. The elevator jerked to a stop and the doors slid open with that humming, sissing sound they make. We all allowed the little, angry woman to go first. She took a sharp right and headed for the exit door and the parking lot. The others dispersed into the building. I followed the lady out the doors, into the bright sunshine. I stopped at the curb behind her, this confused and bitter lady.

“What do you mean,” I asked quite loudly into the back of her head, “about Obama filtering us out?”

She turned quickly to see who her interrogator was and recognized a fellow senior.

“He’s filtering us out, you know!” She spoke as if she was concerned for me and how I was going to pay for my future health care.

“That’s not true,” I said to her, rather boldly and in a confident, matter-of-fact way.

I think she recognized me as a liberal, agitator type. I thought I saw a flash of fear in her face, sensing she was sorry she’d brought the whole thing up. She turned away and stepped down from the curb, heading for her automobile.

“I read it in several places,” she said quite loudly, putting a hard exclamation point on the sentence, as if she’d given me careful sourcing for her comments.

“But I’ve read the entire bill,” I called out to her as she grew smaller and further removed. “There’s nothing like that in the bill. Seniors will be better off than ever.”

She hadn’t heard me, of course, because she didn’t want to. She’d read something about what Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or some other crazy dickhead had said and that was enough for her. Never mind what the legislation said. You couldn’t trust that.

Seniors were going to get filtered out. There was no arguing that with her. The loud, slamming of her car door said it all to me.

“You’d better get ready to be filtered out!”

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