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Yesterday, as Congress passed the health care bill, I sat in Mexico and watched the BBC, ESPN en español, and CNN international all broadcast the votes of our congress in real time. The world was watching…a world that is in fact flabbergasted as to why in the world Americans are so bent out of shape about (not-even) Universal Health Care coverage. In most of the developed world, (and Mexico) the responses seem to be, “well why on earth wouldn’t anybody want that?”

And then the reactions, the backlash, the Anger. So much anger from people who don’t want this bill, who don’t want so many things.

Everyone has a right to their opinion on whether or not this bill will be effective. That should be a healthy point of debate in this country- analyzed by economists and public health experts, I welcome that. I welcome people’s rational concerns about what this legislation means for them and their family.

What has absolutely pained me in the last 24 hours is reading, in the words of people I know and people I don’t, words of hate and disgust for the uninsured, the poor, the recipients of social services. I have read so many words of judgement, hate, loathing, racism and ANGER about these people, including the working poor, who will benefit most from this process. According to the words I’ve read, there are many people who don’t deserve healthcare. They don’t deserve healthcare because they don’t have money to pay for it. And nobody wants to pay for them. 

I have gotten angry myself. I deleted some people from facebook. Wanting to write rants and rebuttals, I forced myself to not fuel the fire more by fighting, and rather try to find a more productive solution. Mostly, I have been reflecting this whole day about why so many feel this way, why they hate their fellow Americans so much when they themselves have been given so many freedoms, privledges and wealth by being born at the right time, the right place, having the right education. And yes, worked hard too, I have no doubt about that, but that work is most often built upon a foundation of priviledges. The same foundation I have been lucky enough to have.

And then I realized that sadly, there have been other times when this country was divided over who was worthy to recieve rights. When African Americans were considered subhuman, when women were seen as unworthy to vote, and this is another of those challenges to overcome. Because it comes down to whether health care is a basic human right, and whether all people are seen of receiving that right. Sure, it’s about taxes. But behind those tax complaints is a very clear message…I don’t want to pay to help anyone else. Well maybe I would if they were only worthy. If they weren’t lazy, freeloading, uneducated…if only they worked as hard as me…

 I can only continue to hope, that one day Universal Health Care will be as accepted as a human right as freely as it now is to grant every person regardless of race, gender or creed the right to vote in the United States. So many countries of priviledge have accepted this belief, and have made it a reality.

My suggestion? Do your part. Thank your congressman if they voted for this measure. Goodness knows they probably need to hear some kind words this week! Use positive words to support what has already been done and what you hope to see in the future. Don’t get dragged into the ugliness. Get to know people who have lost their coverage or been denied access to health care under the current system. Learn from them. Encourage them to tell their story. Get the facts. Be the change.

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Apparently, anybody who’s anybody in Mexico, or a large part of Latin America, lives, writes, acts, and plays in our neighborhood. Everyone is hip. Everyone, except for those living in Departmento 702. (Alex and Ella, I love you but…me neither). This is the apartment which Monday-Friday is occupied by a person and a canine who don’t find it necessary to shower daily when they have no obligations to do so, nor put on clothing other than a sweatshirt and jeans (or go buck, in the case of the canine). And by sweatshirt, not some witty hipster trying-to-look-like-I-got-it-in-a-vintage-store-but-really-paid-$150-for-it, but an actual, I-got-this-in-the-puyallup-value village-in-1998-and-still-wear-it-and-saw-the-exact-same-sweatshirt-on-the-poor Hmong boy-in-Clint Eastwood’s-Grand Torino-sweatshirt.

uh, the kid in the headlock is wearing my sweatshirt

uh, the kid in the headlock is wearing my sweatshirt

My neighbor across the hall from us is a Telenovela star for goodness sake- living the highlife and having people coming and going at all hours, including to play guitar hero starting at 8 am on a Monday morning and finishing around 3 am wednesday morning. But so goes the life of the rich and famous.

You would think that this is one of the fanciest neighborhoods in DF (DF=distrito federal=mexico city). No, it’s quite nice aesthetically, with actual living things known as trees which hide the brown tint of the sky, and parks that are actually beautiful spots with plants and not just plots of dirt scattered with garbage, a bench or two and the occasional bush.  There are no bodyguards, gated accesses, walled fortresses that are single family homes, escalade SUVs, german-speaking communities,  or any other aspect of the typically highest-echelon Mexican neighborhoods. Apparently, it’s hip to be in the middle class. So here we are. In hipster land. And we all know famous people love to be hip.

This is the land where the writers, poets, playwrights, journalists and screenwriters crank out their masterpieces chainsmoking in the sidewalk cafes. This is where they film any variety of soap operas, tv shows and movies on the street (more than one I think my dog has accidentally been an extra in, performing her bodily functions). This is where I have to skirt around supermodels having their portfolio pics taken in the park, where I almost ran into Diego Luna getting out of an SUV to hit up the pharmacy on our corner early one Sunday morning, where Malkovich stayed while directing the Buen Canario starring aforementioned Diego Luna, where the mayor lives a few blocks from our house, and Gael Garcia, and the list goes on.

The problem:  for the most part, I don’t know who these famous people are. And they’re EVERYWHERE. Why is this a problem? Well, the majority of human encounters I have around here is in Parque México, 1/2 block from our apartment. (more on this park in another post, it deserves its own). And these human encounters usually happen when our dogs are sniffing each other’s butts. This is how I “met” the director of Amores Perros, although of course I didn’t know it was the director of this famous Mexican movie, until some guy on a bench pointed it out to me afterwards with overwhelmed reverence for this stranger who I had been talking to with a bag of dog poop in my hand.  Ok, that’s not so bad…it’s kind of nice not knowing people are famous when you encounter them, kind of empowering actually, to be able to interact with them as the regular humans they are, without stoking their self-esteem more than it needs to be stoked.

But then, when you’re me,  you’re bound to do something stupid, and if you’re also me, it’s probably going to be in front of somebody famous. Like the time I wanted to bodyslam Bill Murray at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Baltimore for standing in the doorway and not moving when I came in, giving his party all the dirty glares I could muster,  having to be told not-so-subtly by my frantic roomate that the person I was complaining about audibly was in fact Mr. Murray.

Sorry, Bill.

Sorry, Bill.

So, I was surprised, but not all too surprised when browsing the New York Times online this morning and came across an article featuring a famous Mexican author to whom I made an idiot out of myself one day in the park. Thanks world, not only did I make a fool of myself,  I now know that I did it in front of an extra intelligent person. Yes. It’s not the worst of my tales, a simple math mistake if you will, but this was merely weeks after graduating with dual masters degrees. It went something like this:

He has a basset hound, I have a basset hound. This makes us talk to each other in the park. It is morning. I am not a morning person. Those of you who know me, know this is not merely a statement, but a very real truth.  I ask, in Spanish,

“how many months old is your dog?” (I think it’s a puppy.)

He responds, with a smile, “48”

I say, “Oh! So he’s 2 years old!” (it was morning)

“it’s a girl”

(awkward pause)

“she’s four years old”

(Megan smiles. Not computing…not computing…morninnnnng….)

(he shifts uncomfortably. dogs finish mutual butt sniffing)

“um, I guess I’ll see you later”

(Megan still blank look on face) “Uh? ok…bye….”

(about 45 seconds pass after he leaves)

“oh, sh#($*%t.!”

(Megan has realized she appeared to have IQ of a sea slug. Megan now avoids this man in the park, even though she sees him at least every other day. Megan now realizes he is a critically acclaimed author).

Oh the injustice...this man is better at writing...and math

Oh the injustice...this man is better at writing...and math

Ah well, it could have been worse, right? But if you know of any more famous Mexican people I should be on the lookout for, please send me a photograph, ASAP. I have a lot of free time and a lot of opportunities for these types of activities. I’m curious though…would you rather remain in the dark, or be on the lookout for potential famous people? I remain undecided, but would rather continue glaring at them when they run into me with their grocery carts in the supermarket…

This is me. This is Mexico.

This is me. This is Mexico.

Welcome to reading about me. I’m guessing you have some interest in said me if you took the trouble to open this link, and for that, I thank you. Perhaps you just want to hear my latest tale of embarrassing myself, for which I can’t blame you, for there are many.  For those who are stalking me or trying to find out how I turned out after high school (a huge disappointment for both motivations) I suppose I should thank you too, but yikes.

A few words al principio. I am not one for rules, mainstream URL knowledge or typespeak. LOL, TTYL, ROFLMAO, and any number of acronyms I try to avoid at all costs, especially coming straight out of a mega-university that begins every guest lecture with a litany of acronyms/titles following Dr. ______,  supposedly meant to make you pay respectful attention to the speaker, because they are obviously better than you. I am not better than you, so I will avoid using a string of letters to express myself, or present myself thusly:

Megan blankety blank, BA, RN, BSN, MSN/MPH.

Ooh, but you do kind of feel bad, don’t you, not having so many letters you can put behind your name? Nothing that a few more years of esclavitud and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt can’t give you. Think about it.

Here’s a thing that confuses me about writing blogs. Am I allowed to say my name? My age? The name of my husband? My dog? I’ll just ask for an excuse up front for not following all the rules, because I don’t want to spend hours online reading about URLs, Hyperlinks and the miniscule details of blogging. I’m trusting my knowledgeable and blog-seasoned friends to help me out with this one and steer me right when I go wrong.

This is how I got here.

This is how I got here.

My purpose for doing this is to share stories, impressions, occurrences, embarrassments, events, and weird Mexicanisms which come and go at whim in my mind yet never quite make it beyond the realm of facebook status- the one addiction I can’t seem able to break as of late. (note-this comes from having WAY too much free time). I have been blessed with a much-varied, colorful and adventurous life, and it’s the little things that really stick in my mind. Sometimes I want an outlet to share the pieces of my daily life, past and present, which emerge and impress upon my consciousness. But really it’s about connection, isn’t it? I’m not trying to make any money or win any awards here. You are reading this with a desire to be connected to me, and I write to be known by you- so this blog will simply be a piece of me given to you. I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.