Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thoughts from inside the Hemi

Today I drove Major Man to the airport so he could fly away for some training related to his new job. He will be gone for ten days. I felt an almost overwhelming sense of envy as I drove away.

He gets ten nights of sleep. He gets ten breakfasts, ten lunches and ten suppers where he can actually stay seated for the entire meal.

Not to mention the flight. I love flying. I love the airport. The sense of leaving something behind with the hope of something new. I love it. Growing up at the airport I’ve always had a love of flying. I thought briefly of being a pilot – until I expressed that to my father and he said I’d make a better stewardess. Thanks, Dad.

The roads were horrible on the way back, so I didn’t have much time to stew on Major Man’s fortune and my coming ten days of singlemotherhood. I should not be such a baby. I was a single mother for a while, afterall.

I arrived early at my son’s school and was afforded twenty minutes of quiet with a sleeping baby in the truck and my new AlphaSmart Neo in my bag. This is where I typed this post.

I have a pretty good life. Even with our hardships. Even living with my mother and her husband until June. Even with the financial challenges of living in one of the most expensive cities in Canada.

I am warm at night. I have love. I have friendship. I have health.

Speaking of health. I heard on the radio this morning that it is possible for Albertans to opt out of Alberta Health Care. Now, for my American friends I’ll give you a little explanation.

I pay about $3000 per year to Alberta Health. The Health Care up here is NOT free, despite what your politicians may tell you. There’s a thing called the Canada Health Act that basically states it is illegal to charge someone money for something that is provided for free to all Canadians. There shall be no queue jumping here. Never mind the fact that you could die while waiting in line, you shall not pay to get ahead.

It seems, though, that if I choose, I can opt out of paying that $3000 and instead pay for all my health usage when I use it.

At first I was ecstatic. Then I realized that I was a bit of a chicken. What if I need something expensive? Or what if my kids need something expensive? Only 255 Albertans have opted out. I wonder if they are so rich that they don’t have these same worries.

Suddenly I feel a little bit more ok with paying that $3000. Even if all it gives me is a place to stand in line.

More random thoughts from inside the Hemi.

I need to phone the school and tell them to fix their Canadian flag. It’s a disaster. The side attached to the rope is all gathered up, so it makes the flag all pinched and it hangs limply, its outside top corner flapping uselessly in the wind. It’s hardly a picture of freedom and democracy. Something I think Canada is supposed to stand for.

I remember, back when I was in school, we used to take the flag down at the end of each day, and fly it back up in the morning. It was a matter of respect. Not just for the flag, but for us, the citizens of the country, stating to everyone that passed by that hey, we were here. We are inhabiting this place.

That’s why it was so important when an army won a particular city or fort, they’d fly their own flag.

We are here. We have conquered.

Our schools should do the same. They should fly that flag proudly. Despite the commonality of school, it is an accomplishment to show up each day and learn. The majority of children on this planet do not get to go to school every day. The majority of children are not free to learn. We should celebrate our freedom.

1 comment:

Laura L said...

I can sympathize with the health insurance stuff. We pay for our own (in the US) and we were choosing between two plans and decided on the (much) higher priced one because it covered 100% of hospital expenses.