Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yes, I do like your health insurance! I do!

Dr. Seuss really had something with Go Dog Go.  Consider this conversation:

Girl Poodle: "Hello."
Boy Beagle: "Hello."
Girl Poodle: "Do you like my hat?"
Boy Beagle: "No I do not like your hat."
Girl Poodle: "Goodbye."
Boy Beagle: "Goodbye."

If only it could all be so straightforward.  I don't think the beagle means, "I don't like your hat and you are both unloved and unlovable to me. You'll probably chain smoke yourself to death and be found, weeks later, partially eaten by  your cats."  I think it's that he just doesn't like her hat.

I find that Australians have about 35% less "static". There don't seem to be quite as many unnecesary layers to things; we spend less time having to tease away the crazy while talking to other people. Lots of things are right sized.   We don't feel like we're dancing with the devil when we get a new cell phone, few discussions include phrases along the lines of, "It's not you, it's me", and everyone brings their own fabric bags....not much paper or plastic action going on here.

Yesterday I walked about 10 minutes down our street to the local Medicare office. Now that we have permanent residence, we are elgible to enroll in Australia's free national health coverage.  I filled out the two page form at home and brought in our passports and visa documents.

Medicare employee: "G'day. How are you going?"
Me: "I'm well, thank you! I'd like to enroll in Medicare. Here are my papers."
Medicare employee: "All set! Your card will arrive in the mail next week, or call this number if you need anything soon."
Me: "Thank you. Have a good day."
Medicare employee: "Thank you. You too!"

It was difficult for me to turn and walk away at that point, like there needed to be more to it, like I hadn't achieved anything.  I couldn't do it. Before she called another customer, I reclaimed her counter. "Do we have coverage as of this moment? Do we need supplemental coverage? What about dental? What's this about income limits and penalties for not having hospital buy ups I read about in the paper? Etc. Etc. Static. Static. Static." She was very patient and answered each random question with the exact answers I had predicted. 

Which has to make me wonder, when things seem more complicated than they should be, is it possible it's not them, it's me?  

Maybe someday, with enough days at the beach, sunsets, koala hugs and successful interactions with these strange and mysterious people, I will come to a peaceful place and be more like them. (No plans to take up beer, sports, inbred dogs, funny hair or fugly shoes though.)