A Lifestyle of Waiting

October 18th, 2016

People tell me, "it'll be OK." They offer encouragement, advice, or relate what happened to them, or somebody they know, But nobody offers real solutions. I'm told that government programs will meet my needs, but the process is endless.

Strangers poke their nose into my business. They want an exact accounting of my personal life. Income, expenses, assets, lifestyle, medical, not to mention the endless forms to fill out. Papers filed, with what seems like the same information. Endless papers, endless and tedious waiting for my piece of paper to filter down the stack, and finally reach a human being who can make a decision. Will the support really be enough? I've heard that line before, and the assistance turns out to be barely enough, and plenty enough to keep me buried well below the poverty line. I'm assured the wait is worth it.

So, here I am, Waiting, without recourse. No body to ask where my piece of paper is in the stack. Excruciating nothingness screeching through my head with the mystery of what will happen to me. Where do I stand in this process of waiting. Where am I down the dark tunnel of red tape. No ray of light, and no way to talk to anybody who knows how long.

"Just wait," is the official word. "Why the long wait?" is the question on the lips of everybody. Mental numbness, and the only lame response I can offer is, "I don't know."

I'm told it'll be worth it. The longer they take, the more back pay I'll receive. That's nice, but what about now? What about where my next meal is coming from? What about how I'm going to pay my housing, or utilities, or provide for my kids? What am I supposed to do, pack myself up into a closet, pack myself into mothballs, and wait? How long? Should I just tell my bill collectors to just wait for... Oh I don't know... sometime in the undetermined future... and don't worry, it'll be worth it. I'll be telling them that from the homeless shelter, while I wait with a better response in a soup line.

I called once, and the stock answer was it can take ten months. I wish it were ten months. I was told that over 6 years ago. I would love a decision in ten months, it would be an answer to prayers. An end to a long, slow, decline into the dark, endless tunnels of time and red tape. Why so long? I don't know. When will I hear where I stand in the waiting list? I don't know. When will somebody contact me? I don't know.


But wait. What happens if the hidden decision makers of my fate tell me something is missing in my papers, or I used the wrong form, or I used the wrong wording that isn't in the dictionaries and lexicons of government lingo? I get to refile my papers, and go back to the end of the line... and wait. Believe me, this is a reality. I know, because it has already happened.

Don't worry. I'm doing OK. I manage. I keep on keeping on. But while I plod through life, and keep busy... I wait...





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