Sunday after church I had big travel plans. I had to go into my office to get my Blackberry charger and was going to make an expedition of it by going to Menlo Park to get stuff at the new Penzey's and checking Kepler's for a book I want (and would like to buy from an indie bookseller). I called in my prescription refill for 5 pm. But the universe had other plans for me.
My car flooded out at the gas station (the Shell at the end of my block). A lady noticed and offered to help - she looked at the engine, jiggled some wires, and then suggested that we call a mechanic who takes his show on the road - house calls, on Sundays yet! We had some time to wait for him to show up, so in the process I learned that she has breast cancer that has spread to her arm (which means she can't do her work any more), is living in her truck with her cat, came down here from rural northern California just before she would have been snowed in, and can't get signed off on SSI and Medi-Cal until she can see an oncologist (the SSI people seem to be especially dicking her around). As soon as she can get the benefits straightened out, she's going down to stay with her son. (She used to live in El Cerrito and her ex-husband's family is still around, but they seem to be disorganized.) The mechanic had done her a very good turn by fixing her engine after some chump had tried to steal the battery and ended up loosening the cage, which caused a small engine fire.
In the middle of this, Sasha is amazingly helpful and positive. She also assisted an elderly lady who was having trouble with the pump ATM and had spent her Sunday morning serving breakfast in People's Park with my pals at the local Catholic Worker outfit. I gave her gas money but would really like to do some more for her - money to cover appointment costs (I'm going to talk to my doctor to see if he knows someone who can see her), her gas money (she says that she's eating ok), and maybe enough for a place to stay. All this by way of explaining why I'm doing something out-of-character and putting up a Paypal button. If you can't donate now, I completely understand (and please keep her in your thoughts), but I have seen what $5 here-and-there can do for people. I have her cell phone # so will be able to reach her.
I hope that Barack and the Congress are going to be able to do something to fix our fucked-up broken health care system so we don't have women with breast cancer living in their trucks and unable to see a doctor. (I'll stop there before the steam starts coming out of my ears.)