607: Independence and Subsidies

 

AntGrasshopper

It used to be that Americans were independent and took care of their own.

Why is it now the responsibility of other citizens/taxpayers if I fail to adequately plan, provide for, and save for my own retirement (what used to be called my ‘declining years’)? When did that personal failure become a subsidized ‘right’?

Was it when the US government established the Social Security program in an effort to ameliorate the fallout from those grasshoppers who foolishly played and spent their lives away, while the ants prudently saved and stockpiled against an uncertain future?

Now that social security is firmly entrenched (even if the last generations of lawmakers have plundered the fund to help offset their own grasshopper profligate spending) Americans save even less than they ever did – and our performance as a nation never was too good on that score in the first place.

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Yeah, I’d LOVE to have spent my productive years engaged in pursuing my own interests (financially supporting or not) instead of reporting to work – but having proved myself stupid enough to be willing to work, I don’t qualify for any benefits for sitting on my fat behind.

The idea is that people work to support themselves. Each one responsible for him/herself – unless you have turned over your financial future to someone else who agrees to be responsible for both themselves AND you (this is what many women believe marriage is for – absolving them from all responsibility). If you put your care into the hands of another person and they fail to make adequate provisions for themselves and for you in the event something happens to them, well, they failed you.

My first husband did that – he let more than a half million life insurance policy lapse a few months before he unexpectedly died. Thank God I was already a working wife, and didn’t have all my eggs in his little basket, so I had something else to fall back on besides Uncle Sam. Plus, in the past, families cared for each other. When a family member became disabled or elderly and needed care, they were cared for within the family unit – not handed off for the government (really, other citizens/taxpayers) to care for.

It isn’t the fault of the citizens that you failed to provide for yourself – it isn’t even the fault of the citizens that you are disabled, and need assistance. Neither is it their fault if accident or illness befalls you that you didn’t plan for. Yup – it’s a tough break when that happens. Thankfully, assistance is available for those who are unable (legitimately unable, not having simply purchased their disability from an unethical physician) to provide for themselves, but it still isn’t the fault of others that they are disabled, such that others are then required to pay their way.

THAT is what used to be called charity, before charity became a dirty word, and it used to be the province of faith-based people who took up the slack and provided that assistance locally. They knew their neighbors, and they knew who really needed the help, and who needed the harsh life lessons earned by making very poor decisions.

You know, like the grasshopper.

225. Well….SPIT!

It is Monday – all day. On the way to work this morning, I was involved in an automobile accident. My four carpoolers and I. The lady who was sitting closest to the back tire on the passenger side, where the impact occurred, knocked out that window using her HEAD (not that she intended that to happen), and was quite understandably upset, shook up thoroughly and in shock. She was transported to the hospital and checked out, and praise God she’s OK. She does not even have to spend the night for observation.

That is the important thing – that none of us five, or the four people in the other car, were injured. The fairly minor damage to the vehicles can be dealt with later, and it is totally not important compared with the people.

The rest of it can handled later. It does not help my peace of mind to know that in another completely unrelated accident where the other driver was clearly at fault, the judge has already ruled that the accident was my husband’s fault, probably because of some baksheesh under the table. This accident will be much harder to call, which means they will probably blame me, even though I don’t believe I was at fault. I stopped at the intersection and looked. There was no car coming. For the car to have hit me just as I had almost cleared the three-lane roadway, when he was not visible when I pulled out, means he had to have been flying. This would be borne out by the fact that my little car was slewed sideways in the driveway we almost made it into. There were three lanes available, and the car that hit us made no effort to swerve around us, even though he had room. I think he was blinded by the sun in his eyes, and that he never saw us until he hit us. He did not hit the brakes, nor did he warn us with the horn – just WHAM!

At any rate, Morocco police collect the driver’s licenses of both drivers, which means now that my husband will have to drive us carpoolers to work from now until they return the license – if they do. Sometimes they just never get around to doing that. Like I said….. it’s Monday.

200: lost in translation: I HOPE!!

Some months ago, a Morroccan went straight on a curve, and hit my husband in our little plastic, cheapie Polo VW. it cost us 10K Moroccan dirham (1 US dollar = 8 1/2 dirham), which is about half of a month’s salary to have it fixed, uh, rather, re-BUILT, and several months for that to happen. While it was being repaired, I got to walk a lot and take the public taxis, which aggravated my sciatic nerve and caused several doctor visits for the pain. Good drugs, though.

The Moroccan lawyer we were told to hire counseled us (through a translator, since he himself speaks only French or Arabic) that it might take 3 or 4 YEARS for the court case to be settled, since the man who hit our car steadfastly claims that my husband was at fault in the accident, even though the Moroccan Gendarmerie Royal (royal police) officer who responded to the accident said that he could see that the accident was not my husband’s fault.

Well- it’s been several months, and they schedule a court appearance once a month or more since the accident. That means a LOT of court appearances, which my husband has mostly (except for once or twice) shown up for. The other driver? Nah. Anyhoo, we walked over to the lawyer’s office this past week to check (again) on the progress of the case, and to see if a judgment had been made (hoping to be able to be reimbursed the 10K dirham we put out on the car repairs).

The Lawyer was not in, but his office manager was. French or Arabic are the languages spoken most commonly in Morocco. The office manager has a little English, but I sincerely hope that I seriously misunderstood what he told us. What he said (I THINK) is that the judge, overruling the royal police officer’s report, said that my husband was to blame for the accident. This sentence carries a month in jail, 3 month’s driver’s license suspension (they STILL have not returned his license since the wreck, so it’s ALREADY been more than three months!) and a 4K dirham FINE. We both stood there like we’d been poleaxed, mouths agape. WTF?????

He also told us this was a preliminary judgment, and now the case goes to another court for review. I THINK that’s what he said. I HOPE that’s what he said.

Dear God, I hope I misunderstood the rest of it!!!!!!

75: Morocco cars

Our car is wrecked. On Monday, the first day back at work after a week’s vacation, my husband was hit in the car. The other driver was at fault. We have been told that this means that he will be paying (or his insurance company) for our expenses to repair and replace the car, plus other costs. What it does not pay for, however, is the trouble and inconvenience. And when I say inconvenience, that word just seems a little too small for the trouble and maneuvering that must now take place in our lives since we no longer have a little plastic car, which I miss very much.

First, there is the laundry. We used to bring our laundry to the apartment laundry room, and I would wash it before school, hang it out at lunch, and take it in, dry, at the end of the day.  I cannot, however, bring several loads (not even ONE) of laundry with me from Azrou in a Grande taxi, not to mention the detergent and bleach I would also have to carry. I am not a donkey who can carry heavy loads for much distance! So, I have been reduced to washing my laundry by hand. Even the jeans and blankets.    

Second, there is all the walking. I walk, at a fast clip, fifteen minutes to the taxi stand each morning. Then, I walk thirty minutes from the taxi stand to school, to arrive before eight o’clock. There is a free shuttle, but it gets me there a minute or two late. I take it only when the taxi gets me to Ifrane too late to walk. And then, there is the trip home: back to the taxi stand (30 minutes) if I leave before 4:30, or after the shuttle leaves at 4:30, and then the fifteen minute walk home. This is an hour and a half walking a day – and it is not leisurely walking. I am developing friction sore spots from my clothes rubbing on my skin!! I have been reduced to wearing my loosest garments to cut down on the tender spots. Plus, since the accident, Ifrane and Azrou have been experiencing dreadfully nasty weather – weeks of rain, sleet and snow – which I am walking through.

Then, there is the problem of repairing or replacing the little car. We are unsure of how to proceed. Our avocat, our lawyer, has told us because the other party, which the police AND the judge have told us was at fault, is insisting that the accident was NOT his fault, that the court case could literally take three or four YEARS to settle. This is not how things are done in the U.S., so we are not sure what to do. Do we repair the little car, or does that end the court case, since the car would then be fixed? Do we purchase another one, and leave the little car totaled, as the insurance adjuster says that it is?  If we need to buy another one, the least expensive ones are to be found in Spain, but there are problems importing them into Morocco, and fees to pay. We don’t have this sort of money. Cars in Morocco are much more expensive, even when used. It will cost us less to repair the car than to buy another one, even a very-much used one. *Sigh*

In the meantime, I am walking, and wearing hand-washed laundry – all the LOOSE ones.