Monday, December 31, 2012

People with difficult lives

Compared to the people I know, I have it easy:
  • A woman in her early 60s.  She adopted a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit disorder, and mental retardation.  Now he is around 20 or so.  He found a girlfriend -- obsessive compulsive disorder, self-centered, childish.  They had a baby.  They did not have jobs.  They moved in with the baby's grandmother, the aforementioned woman in her early 60s.  Then the child's mother ran off with another guy.  Then the social workers said both of the child's parents are unfit parents, and are not allowed to be with the child unless another adult is present and awake.  The child's father had to move out of the apartment, otherwise, there was a chance he'd wake up and be with his son while his mother was still asleep.  At first she thought it would be harder, having to do the child care all by herself.  Turns out it was easier, not having to care for the child's parents.  She also has some serious health problems.  She has had to miss some work, both due to health problems and due to going  to court for child custody issues.  Her employer is not happy with her.  She's trying to hold onto her job until she can retire.  After all, if she can't keep this job, who else would hire a woman in her early 60s with health problems and not a lot of education?
  • A woman went into surgery to have her eye problem fixed.  Instead, the surgery took away her eyesight entirely.
  • A woman is sickened by pollutants in the air.  The air is clearer in the morning, but by afternoon, it makes her sick to go out in her yard, or even into her kitchen.  She stays in her bedroom, with the air purifier running and the door closed.  She used to enjoy going to church, but she doesn't go any more because it makes her sick.
  • A young person (mid-20s) experimented with open relationships and for a few months enjoyed having three girlfriends.  Turns out, the down side of having three girlfriends is that you can go through three breakups simultaneously.
  • A man came home and told his wife that he had been laid off from his job.  She said, "My life is over."  She quit her part-time job, because she didn't want to support him.  She pressured him to get a new job.  When he failed to do so, she kicked him out of the house by telling him that if he stayed in the house, she would claim to the police that he was beating her.  He consulted the police, and they said that by law, if she made that claim, they would have to arrest him, even if they did not believe her claim.  She got the house he had paid for, and he moved into a small apartment.  A few years later, he moved into an apartment he really likes.  He has a part-time job and he's always in imminent danger that either his hours will be decreased or the job will go away entirely.  If his income decreases at all, he will no longer be able to afford the rent on the apartment he loves and will have to move somewhere less pleasant.  He is 65 and has health problems that make it difficult to work or to drive.  It is only a short drive to his job, the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the doctor, but he probably shouldn't be driving even that much.  He does it anyway, because how else can he live?
  • A man who lives with chronic pain exacerbated by exercise exacerbates his pain by shoveling snow, because he can't get groceries unless he gets the car out.
And here I am, feeling sorry for myself because it's hard to maintain so many activities in addition to my full-time job? I am privileged  I have a job that pays me enough money.  My job gives me ample time off, allows me the sick time I need, and allows me enough vacation time to do fun things.  I have a nice apartment. I do fun things outside my job.

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