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W3 Story 1: The Honeymoon
May 22nd, 2017 by Dr Karma

My daddy died on Friday. Wallie William Waltonen is no more.
I can’t write about what that means yet.
But I can tell you some of his stories.

My grandfather was in the Air Force and stationed in Northern Florida. He was set up on a blind date with Winca Jewreen Graves.
50 years after they were married, we asked her why she agreed to a second date.
She said he was a perfect gentleman.
We asked him why he wanted a second date.
“Her legs!”
Right after they were married, they drove up to a cabin in Michigan (where W3 was from) for their honeymoon.
W3 was nervous–they hadn’t spent a lot of time together before. He was worried that they would run out of things to say.
So he made a list–a list of things to talk about while they were married.
He said he never needed to use it.
I am happy to report that they didn’t get very far North very fast–they didn’t seem eager to spend all day on the road.
By the time they made it, though, my grandfather was having stomach problems. Grandma gave him ex-laxx, which apparently is even less fun when one is honeymooning in a cabin in the woods with an outhouse.
He told this story for the rest of their longs lives together, to explain why he wouldn’t let her medicate him.

My grandparents’ hands, as they renewed their vows.

 

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Chronic Pain is Chronically Confusing
May 16th, 2017 by Dr Karma

Tomorrow I’ll have an impacted wisdom tooth taken out. I’m in agony today, but it took me a long time to figure out what was happening.
This kind of thing occurs frequently: chronic pain causes misunderstood pain.
I have TMJ–a disorder of my jaw joint. There’s arthritis there too. I’m in PT (it helps to keep me eating and talking).
I thought it was particularly bad last week.
And then I thought it was getting particularly worse.
And then I wondered at the pain spreading–making the whole jaw sore.
Last night, I couldn’t read, couldn’t focus. My eye on the right side even started to hurt, from the pressure.
And then a little voice inside my head chimed in: haven’t you still got a wisdom tooth up there? wouldn’t it be right by that joint?
Intense pain isn’t unusual. Today–the day before a surgery–is better than most because I have a solvable problem.
But I’m frustrated that I had no idea how to answer my dentist’s question: when did this tooth pain start?

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“You either trust . . . your state . . . or you don’t”
May 8th, 2017 by Dr Karma

I’m a federalist.

I’m an American, so I should have the same rights in each state.

Thus, I had a knee-jerk negative reaction to Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole’s discussion of the Republican health care plan on Morning Edition last Thursday. He did the typical Republican move–demonizing the federal government while making moves to allow the states to deny care to their citizens:

“But at the end of the day, you know, you either trust your governor and your state legislature or you don’t. In my case, I do. And it’s far easier, if they make an error, for people to frankly correct them and — or fire them if they need to, than it is to deal with a sort of faceless, federal bureaucracy that’s in many cases thousands of miles away.”

Having grown up in the South, I don’t trust state or local government more than I trust the federal government. Why was I taught that evolution was wrong in a public school? Because of local decisions. Why was my history teacher forced to pretend that the world was created 6000 years ago? Because of local decisions. Why was my doctor not allowed to talk to me about all my options for care when I was pregnant? Because of local decisions. Why was my aunt not able to get healthcare in the South even though she’s disabled? Because of local decisions.

Of course, I can point to a lot of federal decisions that have been awful too, but there are two important points to consider. First, and this is our fault, voters don’t usually pay attention to or vote in local elections. Second, the federal government–with its constitution–tends to move toward equality–and that’s where my values lie. The constitution says I shouldn’t have been taught Christian b.s. in a public school and recognizes my right to disagree. The federal government’s position is that my queer friends have the same rights that I do, that my Jewish neighbor has the same rights as her Christian ones, that my students of color deserve the same opportunity as their white counterparts, that my disabled staff have equal access to a job, etc. etc. etc.

But the Republican move is always to “let the states decide.” To decide whether your disabled child can go to public school. To decide if you can have access to healthcare. To decide if you can be married to your partner.

We’re American. The “state” I live in shouldn’t decide whether I’m equal to my neighbors. I am.

The end of Cole’s interview really brought the point home for me about trusting the states: “Look, I live in a state where we’re down to a single provider who’s losing money. We have a 69 percent rate increase coming for people that don’t have — aren’t subsidized in the pool. And finally, because we’re not a Medicaid expansion state, you know, we’ve got hospitals taking care of classes of patients that in other places they get compensated for — not here.”

We’re not having those problems in California–because California didn’t fight Obamacare. In other words, it shared the federal government’s move toward equality.

It’s that last line that gets me–he doesn’t live in a Medicaid expansion state, so he’s upset because uninsured patients are costing his state a lot of money.

In other words, his state chose to leave a significant portion of its population uninsured. Each state’s budget office can confirm it would make fiscal sense to expand Medicaid. But states like his didn’t. It left its people in danger. It left itself in a bad financial state. Why?

Because it was “Obamacare.”

No, Mr. Cole, I don’t trust the states to always do the right thing for their people, especially states like yours.

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The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating (Entry 60): I don’t want to be friends
May 2nd, 2017 by Dr Karma

I’m not on OKCupid to make friends.

I hate sounding like a reality tv personality–why are guys putting me in this position?

Have I become friends with a couple of guys that I met through OKC? Yes–some of them didn’t work out romantically, but I thought they might, which is why I talked with them and hung out with them in the first place.

They’re probably reading this now.

Hi, guys!

I’m friends with two people whom I never went out on a date with–distance, etc. was a factor. But I was interested in them as people–they had compelling profiles and so I answered when they messaged me.

Hi, guys!

And then there’s most guys. The ones with the boring profiles. The ones who are conservative Christians. The ones with no profiles. Etc. Etc. Etc.

To paraphrase:

Him: Hi.

Me: Not interested.

Him: Sure you are.

Me: So not.

Him: Okay, then let’s be friends.

Me: No.

And that makes me feel like an asshole.

But I don’t.

I’m not lonely. I’m not bored.

My social life is so full, so vibrant. I have an amazing social network.

Sometimes people express sympathy for me because I’m far from my family. And I’m like “what?” because my friends here in Cali are my family. I’m the aunt to so many kids. The emergency contact for them and their parents. And they’re that to me.

And here’s the sad thing–I don’t get to spend enough time with them. They’re busy. I’m insanely busy. There are people I love who work in the same building with me. I haven’t laid eyes on them in months. And we want to see each other.

So, random guy, if I’ll I’ve ever said is no to you, please don’t ask me to be friends. I’m not making time to have coffee with you in Folsom or wherever to start a friendship.

And yes, maybe you’re secretly awesome, and I’m missing out.

But probably not.

In fact, it’s likely that you don’t want to be friends with me, either.

You’re hoping that I’ll invest all this time in being friends with you. I’ll be swept up in desire and at least let you fuck me. Or I’ll fall in love with you and change my mind about not wanting kids, or not wanting to date smokers, or not wanting to date members of the alt-right, or not wanting to date homophobes, or not wanting to date just flat out boring people who won’t even write a sentence about themselves in an ad they’ve created to lure me in.

A couple of months ago, a guy totally gave the “friends” trick away. He lived far away–another country far. I said no thank you. He said let’s be friends. I said no thank you. He said that love doesn’t know distances and he could tell I was the woman for him, blah, blah, blah. So that friend thing was bullshit–a gambit–a trick.

A conservative Christian was flummoxed the other day when I said I wasn’t interested in being friends with him: “In fact it’s the first time in my life that somebody refuses to treat me in that categorical way.” [I think he meant, it’s the first time someone has refused him based on his beliefs.]

In my last post, I mentioned that I woke up to a few messages. Here’s how one of those conversations went, with annotations.

A guy with a shirtless bathroom selfie messages me. His profile is blank.

Him: Are you open to something casual?

I answer because my no should be the end of it.

Me: I wouldn’t need OKC to find something casual. 🙂
I’m looking for someone to date.

Him: Well thats what it would be. Its just that i live in porterville, ca and i travel to stocktob about 2 times a month. So im looking for someone to see “casually”(date). While im there in town.

See how he says “[that’s] what it would be”? As if I expressed any interest at all in him? As if he has something to negotiate here?

Me: I understand that, but I’m not interested.
Your profile is blank; you’ve only answered 5 questions, but we’re 71% enemies.
Why should I give up on what I want in a relationship for someone I know almost nothing about and who I’m probably not compatible with anyway?

Him: Well thats why we get to know each other.

A friendship could always come out of it.

Did I say, “gee, you’re so awesome. Even though I’ve shown no outward interest, I really would like to get to know you. Blank profiles are so mysterious. I long to know about the deep soul that’s surely lingering underneath your abs”?

Me: If you read my profile, you know I don’t like to answer people who have blank profiles and who haven’t answered questions.
I have to know a little bit about someone to be interested enough to want to get to know them. All I know about you is that you can’t give me what I’m looking for.
And I’m not on here for friends–I have a very vibrant social network. I’m never lonely or without something to do.
I want a partner to share my life with–that can’t be you, obviously.

My first response to another recent message was, I thought, perfectly clear: Hi; thanks for your message. The answers to your questions make it pretty clear that you’re wanting the marriage/kids package–we wouldn’t be a good fit. 🙁 

Him: I’m looking to make new friends. Cause you never know the out come.  

Yes, I do. The outcome is that you, like SO many guys before, think I’ll change my mind about having kids with you.

I didn’t even answer another guy after he suggested friendship, mostly because I’m tired of feeling like an asshole by saying I’m not interested in friendship.

He is a smoker, a sexual anarchist (no rules. about anything. ever.), and a guy who says he’s not smiling in his pictures because he has no teeth.

Sigh.

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