Well, I’m growing frustrated with this whole endeavor. In fact, I had moments this week where I was so sick of being dependent upon others and being left in the dark on some key pieces of information that I gave up on this whole discipline for long stretches of time in protest. A few specific events made this week particularly difficult. Let me share.
I played Scrabble with my roommates last Sunday (the one day a week I allow myself to read and write) and due to the combination of bad letters (I had 6 vowels for three rounds of the game!) and what seems to be a dumbing down of my vocabulary, I didn’t do so well. In fact, I’ve found that my ability to articulate things has become increasingly challenging as a result of cutting out all personal reading.
We’re approaching the end of our fiscal year at work which means that it’s time to renew and/or make changes to things such as healthcare plans, car insurance, 401Ks, etc. I attended a few meetings and events where they explained these policies and procedures in great detail. In one of the meetings I decided to take notes but then I stopped myself halfway through and determined to listen to what was said instead of writing it down, to see if I could remember all of the key information later on. I couldn’t. Understanding insurance policies is a challenge if you can read and write. It’s virtually impossible if you can’t read above a 12th grade level, which most Americans can’t. I got pretty angry thinking about the scores of individuals that simply would not be able to understand what their options were much less determine what the right decision for them and their family would be.
I have a pretty independent personality and as a result have a difficult time believing something just because someone tells me I should. I like to seek out facts for myself. To wrestle with every single facet of an issue. To determine where I land on something prior to asking those around me what their belief is. So, to have had something as monumental as healthcare reform up for the debate in The House while not being able to research all aspects of the bill for myself has been pretty maddening; I’ve had to rely upon the radio and TV and the information presented through both of those mediums tends to be brief and biased no matter what network you’re viewing.
Driving home on the highway one night I purposefully didn’t read a flashing, marquee that was trying to get my attention. 5 minutes later I had a pretty good guess as to what the sign had said (well, had I written it): “The 3 exits you can take to get home are closed. The three lane highway you’re on has been shut down to one lane. And, instead of getting home in the anticipated 10 minutes you will now be arriving at your final destination in 45 minutes.” Needless to say I was pretty annoyed. The whole thing could have been averted had I been able to read that sign.
Reflecting back on this week, I realize that my annoyances are pretty small in the grand scheme of things. Because in two week’s time I’ll be back to navigating life as normal, able to read, research and make decisions as I always have. But, there are so many that aren’t currently empowered with the skills necessary to make the decision they deem best for their families on important matters such as insurance and finances, that aren’t able to read important instructions such as those seen on a road sign and that have to take someone else’s word for it on key matters such a politics.