Thursday, August 6, 2009



About having 'the Clap'. Not 'a clap', but THE CLAP. It wasn't until Kool Moe Dee's 'Go See The Doctor' was explained to me that the understanding came. Ouch.

I woke up the before the crack of the day, because that is what I do when I am agitated. The difference between my waking up early because I am agitated and my waking up before dawn is about 25-30 minutes, give or take!

Grabbed my shower and headed up the road. Don't know how it is in y'all's town, but DHS here is a night mare. But really, I think that it is a special kind of something in the Motor ... wasn't a traumatic experience in the provincial town ... the despair there was just sad. Unfortunate. In Detroit, there is a smell and a taste to it. It is in the air and it sticks to the skin like a humid August afternoon, after a brief thundershower. You feel like you could wring the air of it and see it drip from your clenched hands.

Started west on Plymouth and headed for the 48239. I couldn't 'picture' where they'd be located, because I didn't see any office buildings or places where I would think that would accommodate the DHS needs. But there is a nearly empty shopping center, with a sad and lonely CVS at the corner that crosses Plymouth at Inkster, and the office shares a space with the bingo parlor.

It is neat, well lighted, and the crap cheap carpeting is new. I don't know how long this office has been opened, as there is only a very normal sized sign on the front overhang to indicate that there is ANYTHING in this part of the building.

Ten minutes early, the guard goes on and lets me in, unlocking the door. There is a Metro Times stand inside and I grab one. The cover story is about this lady who has had her three boys taken away from her by the State of Michigan. It is a tale that begs for more in depth story telling, though as for that, the story is pretty good.

I share links to that tale in more ways than one ... and that would be taking me off my stride, which I struggle to stay on. I do think how I would love to get some one's take on it ... wonder if the SFC would want to debate the merits of the actions taken.

Anywho, I am the only customer in the office. Going up to the ladies on the reception, I tell them that I got two letters, one informing me that my Medicaid was canceled and the other that I need to start reporting here. The latter question was the operative, as she ran my case # and found that even though I was in receipt of the notice, that my case hadn't been one of the cases transferred from the 48227 office. I would have to go there to resolve my case. Well, if it is now 0800, and that office is open, by the time I get there from here, the purpose of being 'first' will have been defeated.

Well, I had to get this done. Tomorrow is my 'fly out' date. I didn't want to be walking around thinking that I didn't have any coverage (yeah, NOW I know different, but I didn't at the time of receiving the notice) if something happened, like it did the other day.

Speaking of which ... one of the things about TBI, is that it isn't marked by pain or an 'incident may not even 'hurt'. The shock of being struck, even protected by a helmet as I was falling on my bike, is enough to provoke an episode of concussion-syndrome. I know that, in case anyone thought that I didn't. And it explains A LOT about the last day and a half.

On the way down Schoolcraft, which at this point was also the service drive for I-96, I see a cat in a wheelchair rolling east. He is heading for Telegraph Road and he calls out to me. I didn't actually hear him, because I ride with my walkman playing, but I caught enough of a sound and flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. He was trying flag me. I turned on one of the residential streets to circle back. He was hoping that I could ride ahead and get the bus to wait for him on the corner across Telegraph. It was due, and he didn't want to miss it.

"Not a problem," I replied. What was the five or so minutes spent waiting for the cat to wheel across the street and maybe even holding the bus for him? So I stopped and waited. The bus didn't come and he made it in time for him to wait on his on. But that wasn't the point.

He made it before a bus came around, so I waved and took off.

Pulling up to the office on this side of the tracks, is just as that sentence fragment implies. The gray, cheerless building reeks of the aimlessness of many of its customers, of which I am one. Yes Janice, each and every time, I ask myself if I am in here because I am OF the despair, or am I in here to utilize a government entity for its intended purpose. Whatever anyone would think, I come to the conclusion of 'who cares', and go on in and do what I need to do.

As I go in, a pair of older white (!?! HERE IN DETROIT AND HAZEL PARK OR TAYLOR!!) ladies are exiting the place. "Here, " one of them says handing me a ticket number. "I can't wait that long, maybe this will help you." The number was 56, and I put it in my pocket. When I went in to get my ticket the number I was given was 87. There count was on 22. "Good deal!" I think to myself. I can be patient and was committed to spending the day there. Getting the boost that I got meant that I would be out by lunchtime!!

I am not going to lie. It is sad, visited by the most luckless, pathetic people you would ever dream of seeing. These poor and ignorant women and their misshapen, unattractive faces and bodies defaced with tattoos. Or the 'exotic' hairstyles in their unnatural hues. That is why I have to wonder if I have indeed reached my level in life, because I am here.

Behind me, a young woman who bears a strong resemblance to Fiona, Shrek's lady love, had the nerve to question someone else looks in a phone conversation. "Is he cute?" I hear her say. "Is she even HUMAN?" If I was the cat she was talking about, THAT would have been my question.

Did I mention before the contrast for someone to see between the two areas I spent much of my formative years? The mindset and expectations are polar opposites. I think part of many black Americans struggle is a constant 'in here, but not OF here' feeling. There is something to escape in being a black American, that many don't want to admit. They mask their insecurity in denial and trying to behave 'white'. Or it is draped with a false sense (IMO) of black nationalism.

I have a bad 'who give a rip' gene that activates when someone insists on forcing an identity on me. Not only does what they think not matter, but I DON'T CARE anyway. No matter what someone pegs me as, I am sure that eventually they will find something out that surprises them. So what was the use of the rule, anywho?

Got the paperwork filled out (which wasn't an easy thing ... it was a mission!) to eventually be told that there was no change in benefit. My worker was moving my coverage between insurers, and that she should have sent THAT notice.

Stood with my legs opened and shook my BVD's out of my crack. Smiled and took my worker's number and walked out, light once again. I could rail on against the bureaucratic sloppiness, but I think Russ a long time ago left a comment about how bureaucracies 'thin the herd', or something to that effect.

He was right. Life has all kinds of obstacles for you to earn and prove your worth, for you to find out how much you want something. Once you get through something the first time, it will never again be as difficult any following time, especially if you take the attitude that you will get what you need done, done. And utilize things to the fullest extent possible.

Wow. And that was it. Pretty easy day.


Beth said...

"It is in the air and it sticks to the skin like a humid August afternoon, after a brief thundershower. You feel like you could wring the air of it and see it drip from your clenched hands."

Loved these lines, Mark. Perfect.

I'm sorry you had to go through such hassles, but I'm glad you got it straightened out! Bon voyage tomorrow, and I hope you'll be able to check in once in a while! Love, Beth

a corgi said...

you did an act of kindness (waiting for the guy and the bus) and because you did that act of kindness, you were at the perfect spot to get the number from the elderly lady. Imagine, if you hadn't helped him, you would have been there a few minutes earlier and probably the recipient of #85 instead of #56 given by the lady. Neat!

glad it worked out too; now you can enjoy your trip with no worries if you were to get injured

safe travels!


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad that all is well with DHS and you can travel without that particular anxiety. Have a great trip.

Wes said...


You speak from the heart and your words express it. You are a good person and I hope you enjoy
your trip. Be happy and safe!

Blessed Be

miss alaineus said...

as someone who has been in the redford office, as well as the one downtown by king books, everything mark says here is true.

waiting for benefits in the d is like a full time job. learning the welfare system lingo is like learning a foreign language.

have a safe journey.