Coffee heat rising


w00t! I’m never going back to work at GDU again. Over at the community college, the last of the student papers are graded, and all that remains is to meet one class this afternoon to return their papers. I’m waiting till this evening to post grades, because there’s still a shot my marvelously brilliant but distracted Asperger’s student will turn in a final draft (I gave a couple of foot-draggers until today to finish).

LOL! This kid is so amazing that even if I grade from the work-in-progress he turned in by way of proving that he is working on it, he’ll finish with a strong B.

Moving on: by this evening, I am going to be free of any sort of slave labor (except for copyediting another detective novel….heh heh heh heh!) for an ENTIRE MONTH.


I had forgotten how lovely winter breaks and summer vacations are. The only thing hanging over my head between now and the middle of January will be designing next semester’s courses. And I’m actually looking forward to that, because I have some highly creative new ideas.

Springing free from the Great Desert University is an enormous relief. One of the other things I’d lost sight of is how toxic that place is. I do not know one soul who works there who is happy in her or his job. At least one therapist in the city has a practice that consists almost entirely of GDU employees.

Imagine: a shrink who specializes in treating employees of a single organization. Does that tell you something, or does that tell you something?


The god of Sleep has returned to my precincts. I’m sleeping through almost every night undisturbed! It’s literally been years since I’ve had a full night’s sleep, one that wasn’t interrupted by a spate of wakefulness between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. Matter of fact, that was the genesis of Funny about Money: nothin’ else to do in the wee hours but read blog posts and write a few of my own.

And since, for the first time since the memory of Person runneth not to the contrary, I feel rested when I wake up in the morning, I’m not irritable and on edge all day, I feel no desire for a drink every afternoon, and navigating our homicidal streets no longer reduces  me to screaming rage.

Do I worry about money? A little. But I know I’ll get by at least through 2010. By this time next year, I should be well accustomed to living on a third of what I earned at GDU, and if that’s the case, I can go along forever on Social Security, part-time teaching, editing, and a very small drawdown (if any!) from savings.

Yesterday’s guest post by Revanche struck a chord, when she remarked on her surprise at realizing how much she revels in freedom from the workplace. Right on, lady!

I think a lot of wage slaves who trudge into an office, factory, or retail store stay on the gerbil wheel for one reason and one reason only: health insurance. It certainly was true for me: shortly after I divorced I realized that once the COBRA ran out (my ex- covered that, as part of the agreement), I would be uninsured and unable to afford my own insurance. That mooted the prospect of freelancing, which, in my financial naïveté at the time, I imagined would support me. Several times during my tenure at GDU, I thought I should quit the damn job and go back to freelance writing and editing, but the reality was that I could not get insurance to cover me fully and even if I could, nothing was affordable.

Insurers dream up every reason from Hell to short you on coverage. In my case, I was told  that because I had a “diagnosis” that I had never heard of—something a doctor had innocently noted on my record but thought so minor he didn’t bother to tell me about it—Blue Cross would not cover any broken bones, back pain, or muscle spasms. This meant that a good car wreck would bankrupt me. And good car wrecks are commonplace around here. In any event, the cost was prohibitive. If I wanted to be able to go to a doctor, I had to keep working for GDU. Which of course was what was sending me to doctors…

Starting in January, the discounted COBRA will carry me through to Medicare. Though Medicare costs about 11 times more than GDU’s EPO does, it still is not beyond reason. The state of Arizona’s health insurance is so cheap (and you get what you pay for, BTW) that it far underprices what most Americans pay for group insurance, and so Medicare probably looks like a bargain for most folks.

Once government-provided health insurance is in place (if it ever gets past the retrograde types who are resisting it), I wonder what effect that will have on the labor force.

I suspect a lot of people figure they could get by with self-employment or in part-time jobs, but keep trudging because they can’t afford health insurance and are unwilling to go bare. How many workers who dream of jumping off the treadmill will do it, once that barrier falls?

I know I would have left GDU a long time ago if affordable public insurance had been an option. Why would anyone put herself through a lifetime of misery if there were a reasonable way to get out of it?

Maybe this is the reason the right-wingers oppose a public option: they know darned well the more self-starting wage slaves will flee if we don’t have to stay in the traces to get medical care when we’re sick.

What’s freedom worth to you? If you had access to decent, affordable health insurance and you could earn enough to cover your living costs on your own or through light part-time work, would you quit your full-time job—even if it meant cutting back on your lifestyle a bit?

Image: Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, Morpheus and Iris. Public Domain.