Red Flags

Posted on 01 May 2009

All this week I have been in a training on federal legislations relating to my job. One of the things we’ve covered are “red flags” that direct a certain project toward one type of compliance or another, so as to reach the best end product. Which started me thinking, yesterday, about how Americans should maybe be paying more attention to a few of our own red flags. Allow me to perch up on the soap box for a few golden moments, here.

First of all, what’s up with the suburban expansion? Why do people want to get away from each other only to reconvene in the name of everything from shopping to haircuts to baseball games? I have a strong suspicion that this phenomenon is closely related to a) air quality in cities, and b) the lack of quality green space in cities, that let people think that they are alone even though they’re not.

Second, where is all the money going? Americans in particular seem to have reached a certain hysteria regarding money. There is no space for reality in the capitalist ideal: money is the answer to everything. Period. Questions? Get to work, or get your butt into graduate school so you can make more when you get out. Sorry to be so crass about it, but it’s been a long day of lonely, light-deprived training sessions.  But seriously, how come Europeans get like 3 times the vacation we do, work shorter weeks, get more holidays, and still seem to be doing just as well as we do??  Makes you feel like a hamster running around and around on his wheel, eh?  Only this isn’t fun, and I’d much rather be over on the other side of the cage scratching my back and digging for goodies.

Third (and last, I promise), just one word: health. It seems to me that a developed, wealthy country like the United States should have its ducks in a row when it comes to keeping its citizens healthy (and, theoretically, happy–but that’s another story). So why is this still such a huge issue? Rates of infection in American hospitals remain high, infant mortality is worse than some Third World countries, and even getting in the front door of a hospital involves waiting a minimum of 30 minutes (on hold, to make an appointment) to 8 hours (in an “emergency” room).  Oh, and after you get the treatment you need you can look forward to months of retribution, while the hospital hounds you for the money owed them by your insurance company, who is hounding you for various expenses they’ve decided they won’t cover.  Wha?

Okay, sorry I had to whine about all that for a moment.  The happy ending is that today was the last day of training, and it’s Friday.  So I get to enjoy two days of glorious freedom and then on Monday go back to making money by trying to get people to remember things other than money.  Sigh.

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