Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Full Coverage

In January, the start of a new year, an ad on Craig’s List led me to sit through a session on selling supplemental insurance. The pitch had a little to do with the product and a lot to do with how much money could be made by following the simple scripted routine, a game of numbers that would lead invariably to an early retirement.

Living in a scarcity of dollars for most of my adult life, and even dependent at my age on my Dad’s largesse to enjoy the food on my own table (or, honestly, in the health food café), I left the conference room feeling a bit dirty for considering it, but with my integrity still intact. Insurance, I believed, is a fear-based industry focused on the disaster that might never come. It takes money upfront out of your pocket for an intangible service you hope is never needed. I walked away proud to remember the additions to people’s lives built with my sweat and blood in exchange for their money, and even if my own pockets are sparse, I am comforted to know my hard work enabled my ex to be free with a comfortable nest of eggs in her new life.

Months have wandered by with the view from my couch relatively unchanged beyond the green of the leaves and gorgeous purple of the bee balm that have come and threaten soon to pass. The long anticipated surgery is still just as far away, depending on a financial decision. Braces and college tuition payments loom even as I stretch my dollars on the electric and cell phone bills. A hundred resumes return but a few polite responses about the overwhelming number of applications allowing them the luxury to choose more qualified people to interview.

In August, therefore, even as the different ad made me suspicious it would lead to the same conference room, I answered anyway and sure enough sat through the spiel again. This time, however, there flowed over my body a palpable feeling of relief, like when leaving a marriage, I was taking one step closer to a more sane reality. The pitch penetrated my thick skin of skepticism. I bathed in the image of writing checks and whipping out my card without the slightest concern for balance financially or emotionally.

In the middle of the presentation, a man walked past the door who served as the perfect point, to answer a question, that the initial licensing fee could be recovered threefold in the first week. I actually know him as a passionate, serious and committed musician and if he was comfortable making the compromise to support his art, then perhaps so could I.

The next week, I have spent envisioning what this variation of reality might look like. I see some tangible items like a more efficient and presentable car or useful truck, a new pair of shoes; perhaps even a move out of the dark and dreary cave of my basement apartment. Trips to lands long imagined appear on the horizon.

More importantly, with some financial security, my daughter might prove brave enough to speak to me again. A life without crisis could allow even more creative expression given the ability to relax at a cellular level around the question of basic survival and/or an unhealthy dependence on my father.

My requirements so simplified, I have no need to commit to the hours that will give myself retirement to a yacht in Miami ten short years from now. Astonished and uncomprehending, they wonder if that lack of purpose disqualifies me from their normally aggressive profile, but I am confident that, if on board, I will be a considerable asset.

Considering my battle with health insurance and corporate mentalities, it seems an abomination that I would support the very industry that has caused me such trouble. The truth is that it is my own negligence that failed to submit the paperwork in a timely way and my appeal is for mercy, not contesting the letter of the law. Much of my construction income actually came from the tragedies of fire and water damage that did happen and was fortunately insured. Usually, I came off as saving the day, providing a valuable service to get a family back in their home, rather than a mercenary chaser of fire trucks.

My best selling point, in fact, is wishing I had such a policy in place when my scaffold collapsed as everyone’s inevitably does at one time or another.

Although I continue to peruse Craig’s List for that ultimate listing that might match my intelligence (relative), skills and passion with creativity and dollars, I have already embraced this opportunity enough to sit here this morning, writing in the sunshine as the hour for my follow-up interview approaches. Taking charge of my life, I walk through the door…

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dawn said...


Anonymous said...

Listen to yourself... your body talks, as you know. Love the way you are working with the feelings and the way you express yourself in words. "Let nothing disturb you..."