March 13, 2009

Alt 6 4

That's the magic combination, south of the border or on any keyboard without an "at" sign, to address an email. At the public Internet lounge, I am quite in demand for this minor triumph over technology.

It's been quite some time, again, since I have written here. No sooner did I unpack from Argentina then I went off to spend my annual two weeks in Mexico, at the end of the world in Cabos San Lucas.

I invite friends, and together we dwell in Mexican version of the U.S. that is the land of the time share. This season, the other dwellers are few and we seem to have one of the lagoon-like pools to ourselves. Business is bad, down in Mexico, but for those who have escaped here, the population density feels just wonderful.

From the front page of Yahoo (Alice's sole source for news of the outside world), it appears drug trafficking has run amok in a part of Mexico far, far from Alice. No, we have plenty of security here, on foot and by camera. I send emails reminding everyone I am 1,000 miles from the border.

The main drug activity in Cabos is the purchase of medications that can only be obtained by prescription in the U.S. The pharmacies downtown do a very active trade in pills ranging from Viagra to Premarin, with all stops on the antibiotic train and several on the pain-killing one also accounted for. Antidepressants also populate the menu, for reasons Alice is looking into.

With mismanaged nightmare (that would be the pricey health insurance Alice is grateful to have) she has never needed to price-shop, say, Prozac. With insurance, Alice's drug regimen comes in at a semi-reasonable price. Without it, apparently her meds start at about $60 to $90 a month each, and some cost considerably more.

Let us all give thanks to New York State for the blessing of what is called, in insurance lingo, community rating. If you can afford insurance, full coverage is one price for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions, or whether you, statistically, are more or less likely to need care. New York may be expensive, but at least we're not exclusionary.

Only four other states have the same idea, which means Alice will remain in Wonderland throughout her days. She is tethered not only by emotional geography but by practical considerations: no state outside of the Northeast would have the least interest in making sure Alice's health care needs were even remotely provided before, and Alice can't see getting healthier as something that comes up in the aging department.

But I digress: in the land of Alt 6 4, I check in with the world once every couple of days. It is enough. These days I quite agree with William Wordsworth, whose poetry I do not completely comprehend, but whose 1806 title "The World Is Too Much With Us" contains sentiments with which I am in full agreement.

And that was long before the term telecommunications fell into the vernacular. Right now I check in with my world mostly to hear from the Artist, who makes me laugh and feel good about myself and feel like there is someone in the world who actually gets me, whom I get. We shall see as time proceeds how well these feelings hold, but for now, they are blissful.

As for Wordsworth:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

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