Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Saturday, February 23, 2013  
Poverty is a series of compromises. Every decision I make is based on money, not will.

And yes, that's true for most people. You may want a new Mercedes but you can only afford a used Honda. That's life.

But. When you're living at or below poverty level, the choices are more like, "I need shampoo and toothpaste but I only have $3, so I can only afford one of those items, so I'll get toothpaste because I have some handsoap I can use to wash my hair." (Yes, I really have made that choice. More than once in the past three years.) Some will argue that using handsoap to wash your hair isn't a compromise, it's a clever, outside of the box solution. Tomato tomahto. I can personally attest that handsoap does, technically, clean your head and hair. But it's also really difficult to fully rinse out of your hair and can dry your scalp (making it itchy), and leaves your hair looking and feeling, well, "weird." Especially if you use it more than a few shampoos in a row.

I knew being unemployed is rough on a lot of respects other than financial. I knew the wounds it gives a person take a long time to heal. I knew that. I didn't have to live it to know that. But I had no idea how deeply the knife actually cuts.

I've lost friendships because of it. Long term friendships. People I've known for 10, 15, even 20 years have either faded from my life or got so angry, frustrated or apathetic with me and my "situation" that they vanished because they can't "deal" with me, or, in most cases, because I can no longer afford to "play" with them.

I know, you're thinking, "they weren't real friends, then." But, I'm going to defend them. 1) Because I'm a loyal friend, even if they aren't, and 2) because it doesn't make sense for us to be friends anymore.

Every friend I've lost since being unemployed is married with children. Since I do not have a husband or children I was already odd one out in most situations. But every now and then they'd get a sitter or bring the kids into the city, or they'd invite me to a barbecue or event, so, we did socialize. I, and I think they, desperately wanted to believe that women who are married with children can maintain friendships with women who are single and childless. We're all women, and before they had children they had careers and, we have things in common. Enough in common to maintain friendships. I, and I think they, clung to that ideal because to admit that marriage and children alters your friendships means owning up to some difficult character judgements.

The only thing that bothers me about these friends who won't take the time or conscience to stick with me through this rough time is that, heh heh, I have to laugh at this, they haven't worked for 10 - 15 years. They got married, got pregnant and have "been on maternity leave" ever since. They are completely dependent on their husband's income. Technically they've been unemployed years longer than I have, they haven't earned a dime in all those years. I know, I know, they're maids, cooks, valets, nannies, coaches, tutors, blah blah blah. They're mothers. That's what mothers do. Except, heh heh, some of my friends who are mothers pay other people to clean their homes, coach and tutor their children, and in two cases, I have friends who have nannies. Yes. They haven't worked in 10 years because they quit their jobs to be stay-at-home mothers...and they are paying someone else to mind their children. To clarify, it's not the irony that bothers me, it's that they don't see the irony. And it's not just that they don't acknowledge it, they truly do not see any irony or hypocrisy in their opinions. Sure, I could simply say, "Big words coming from someone who hasn't earned a dime in 12 years..." but what purpose would it serve to slate them? Do I need to have the last word? Prove I'm the bigger bitch? No. Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh. Repeat as necessary.

And yet...these same women are angry at me for not "trying hard enough" to keep my condo out of foreclosure. They tell me I am part of a community problem, that they would never let their homes go into foreclosure because of what it does to the community - it victimizes neighbors - and therefore they would scrub toilets and turn tricks* if that was the only way they could earn money to honor my financial and community commitments. So, yes, my friends suggested that I take up custodial services and prostitution. One even got me an interview for a janitor job at her husband's company. The job was minimum wage and would have required a 2 hour (each way) commute (by a series of trains and buses, the price of which would have equaled a couple hours of take home pay...and wouldn't even put a small ding in a mortgage payment). An offer wasn't extended so that was the end of that, but, my friend held me responsible for not being able to "even land a job as a janitor." She assumed I thought I was above custodial work and would rather drag down my community and victimize my neighbors with my foreclosure than get a job. She accused me of being too proud and, oh yes, she said it. She called me lazy. (reminder, these accusations came from a woman who has not earned a dime in 12 years and has what she calls "home maintenance service" and "development specialists." For those of you who don't speak gated community, that translates to: she has a maid and a nanny.)

Insert ivory tower cliche of your choice.

They're angry at me for not finding a job that pays enough to pay my mortgage, but there's another issue. I can't afford to do anything, especially not the things they do. It frustrates them that I can't do "anything." They like $5 cups of tea and $20 salads and $12 martinis. They attend charity fundraisers where the price for a seat at a table is a hefty donation. They take girls' weekends at 5 star resorts. You get the picture. Considering I have to make choices between toothpaste and shampoo, it's obvious I can't afford any of those things. For a while they threw me an occasional invitation, but I politely declined. Eventually I just started telling them it wasn't in my budget, and the invitations ceased. Well. Except the invitations to donate to their charities. Those invitations are extended with, "I know you're on a tight budget right now, but this is for charity." The implications of that statement are too deep and too many to get into and I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain them to you anyway. I always offer to help, I offer my time and services, but, that's not what they want or need. They only want financial contributions.

Okay, so I've lost friends. I realize I'm not painting them in their best light and it may sound like I'm better off without them. But. These are basically nice women. Educated, well traveled, (formerly) professional, women with whom I've shared some really good times. But, they've moved on and up in their lives and I have moved down and out. The small chasms of disparity that developed in our friendships when they got married, had children and quit their jobs have turned into deep abysses without bridges since I've been unemployed.

Poverty is a series of compromises.

I know. I need poor, unemployed friends who are single and childless. And I know there are a lot of us out there. But the nature of our status is isolating so by definition we're not going to meet each other. Maybe in online unemployment forums, but while commiserating with people in the same situation offers some salve to the wound, when you log off you're still alone and jobless and homeless/living with your parents/couch surfing.

I'm lucky. I have been able to parlay some of my professional skills into occasional freelance/consulting work. The clients dictate the price which is usually well below the going agency rate, but that's why they're looking for freelancers/consultants. They can't afford/don't want to pay the going rate. They want cheap and fast solutions. So, for instance, a project that would cost $4,000 at an agency might be offered to me for $500. Because I am desperate for money and more to the point, desperate to work, I take the projects. On the rare occasions when I'm asked to bid on projects, I low ball to the point that I'd be making $5/hour on the projects, and yet, still, I have been outbid by someone willing to do the work for less money. It's hard out here for a pimp. But. I'm more fortunate than other people who are long term unemployed because I have had some work, I have maintained some professional credibility and viability. Which is another reason I take on the cut-rate projects: There's intrinsic value for me. I have something to show for my time. I don't have a huge gaping project hole in my resume. If these clients were willing/able to pay more, or if there were more projects, I wouldn't be thriving, but I'd be doing "okay." I wouldn't be choosing between toothpaste and shampoo. I might not be living on the poverty diet of potatoes, mac and cheese and beans and rice. But. I've run the numbers and even if I got half the agency rate for my projects, making the mortgage payment, property tax, internet and cell phone bills would be a stretch, I'd still be scraping by, barely.

But I'm fortunate and very grateful for the projects that have been offered to me.

Or, at least that was my outlook until last week.

Last fall I got that walking pneumonia that was going around. It's a nasty, nasty bug. And I put off doing anything about it until I was knocking on death's door. I went to a walk-in clinic and got a prescription for an antibiotic and cough syrup. Neither really helped, so I bit the bullet and spent my last $120 on a visit to my doctor. Turns out I had "regular" double pneumonia. My doctor said she would normally hospitalize someone in my situation, just to get them on oxygen and monitor their progress and make sure they're on the road to healing. That wasn't an option for me and we both knew it, so she did the best she could with medication and instructions for some in-home care. I had to ask my mother for money to help cover the chest x-ray, blood test and prescription expenses. So, yeah, I was sick. I figured I'd either die or get better and I was okay with either result. I didn't die and I'm kind of disappointed about that. It seemed like a good solution. It wouldn't be suicide, so my mother wouldn't have to live with that after I was gone. And it would be a graceful, even fitting, way out for me. But here I am, still breathing.

But here's the problem. I was really, really, really sick. And there are consequential health issues that have cropped up as a result. And I've been living under the weight of a lot of stress for three+ years. The combination has culminated in a couple health issues rearing their ugly heads. Trust me on this, you do not ever want to hear your gynecologist say, "I want to do a few more tests..." You especially do not want to hear your gynecologist say that when your best friend just went through ovarian cancer. My doctor generously didn't charge for a few office visits, but I had to pay the lab fee for the blood tests and some in-depth (and I mean in depth) gynecology exams. One recent round of blood tests cost me $490. That was my entire income from two projects. That was my food budget, bus/train fare, and cell phone expenses for seven weeks. I cannot afford the cost of the tests and care for some of the health issues, and my doctors know this. So, my doctor recommended me to a social worker at the hospital, hoping I would qualify for one of the low income programs.

I, full of innocence and hope, thought perhaps Obamacare was a solution for me and the social worker would be a wealth of information and  I'd be on my way to healthcare coverage.

I showed up at the appointment eager to get my Obamacare ball rolling. I knew, roughly, what the penalty fee is for not having health insurance, and I figured I could come up with money to pay installments on Obamacare. I wasn't looking for a handout, but, I thought Obamacare would be a solution. I'd pay the fee, which is much lower than the cost of health insurance from an insurance company, and I'd get healthcare coverage.

Oh silly, silly, silly me.

The hospital social worker actually laughed when I said the word Obamacare. "Uh, they won't even tell us when were going to get information on the program, much less how to enroll patients. People think it's out there, that it's a live program. It's not. As far as we're concerned, it doesn't exist. We have our own special needs programs and of course there's Medicaid."

And so it was that I found myself in an office with a social worker and a couple folders of forms and the grim news that I was denied all health services. Why? Because 1) I declined COBRA when I was laid off - I had the option to continue health insurance and I waived the option. (Never mind that my COBRA would have cost me $723/month.) I had the option and I refused to accept it. I signed a form stating that I declined it. And because 2) I have income. The income from my freelance/consulting projects is below poverty level, but, I have income. Not steady income, but I have income.

The social worker said, "We'll appeal. But. As of now, you're not qualified and you are responsible for the cost of all your medical fees."

Obviously I don't have the money for the healthcare expenses and I'm sure the social worker could see the worry in my face.

She said, "There is something you can do to speed up the process and get immediate coverage."

My eyes widened at the prospect. Why didn't she tell me about this when I first met with her and filled out all the forms?

The social worker continued, "Understand that I can't advise you to do this, but, you're an educated woman, you seem intelligent and nice, we can just have a conversation, casually. If you were to ask me if having a child would make a difference in your eligibility for healthcare and a lot of other programs, I would say, 'absolutely.'"

I'll let that sink in for a minute.

Yes. She was suggesting that I get pregnant so that I could get healthcare.  I didn't want to believe that's what she was implying, though, so I blinked away what I thought I heard her imply. I must have misunderstood. She must have me confused with another patient. I've had some gynecology tests lately, she must have thought I was someone else, someone pregnant.

I said, "Oh, I don't have children, I'm not pregnant."

She looked over her glasses at me and said, "I know. But if you were to ask me if being pregnant would make a difference in your eligibility for healthcare and many other programs, I would say yes. Sometimes the solution to a problem becomes obvious when you look at it as an opportunity instead of a problem." Her tone and look in her eyes said, "I'm sure we understand each other. I know you know what I'm saying."

I've been given a lot of advice during my unemployment. A lot of advice. Some it valuable, some it not so helpful, and I've heard all of it many times over, from many different people. But, I can honestly say, this is the first time anyone has suggested that I get pregnant as a solution to my unemployment and poverty issues.

Poverty is a series of compromises. But. What am I willing to compromise?

I love kids, wanted to have a couple, and before the lay off threw a wrench in my plans I was in the midst of a five year prep plan to adopt. Why adopt instead of just going out and getting knocked up? Because there are already too many children, already born, who need loving, supportive, safe homes. And getting knocked up requires either a willing participant or an anonymous donor. The former is a non-option for me, the latter is expensive and a little weird for me. Not judging anyone who goes that route, but having given it serious thought I decided it's not for me. And I know women who intentionally had a couple anonymous hookups with the purpose of getting pregnant. They had zero intention of telling the father that he sired a child but both women I know who did this ended up regretting the decision - not the child, the decision to not tell the father (or even know how to get in touch with the father). Again, clearly and for the record, I'm not judging anyone who goes that route. But. My moral compass is set at a different point than that. Even if they truly never tell the guy they fathered a child, duping some drunk dude into sperm donorship gets the whole "blessed event" off to a dishonest start. To say nothing of the rights of the child. Which is why adoption was the best option for me. The child is already born and unwanted by both parents. Obviously the best solution is a two parent home, and that would be my first choice. Believe me, I'd give anything to have a husband in this endeavor with me. But. I don't. And until I was laid off, I was working with single-minded focus on a plan to get to a financial place where I could afford a nice home and could provide a child, fingers crossed, maybe two, with a worry-free, safe, home with love and support. The goal was to help children whose parents didn't want them or couldn't provide them with what a child needs.

So, until I was laid off, my eyes were very focused on the prize of motherhood. There were other factors, but the underlying reason for buying my condo was to start the real estate chain of events that had to happen before I could adopt. There are housing parameters spelled out for prospective adoptive parents. I couldn't quite afford a place that fit the bill, but the plan was to start somewhere, buy a small place, fix it up a little, let it appreciate in value for a few years, get some equity and move up to a bigger, social worker approved home. Man. That sounds so 2006, doesn't it? That's a laughable plan, now. Especially for me.


There I was, in 2013, sitting across from a social worker suggesting that I get pregnant, rendering me eligible for myriad government assistance programs.

In what world is getting pregnant a viable solution to unemployment, homelessness and poverty? Ours, apparently.

I have no doubt the social worker sees countless cases of impoverished, single, pregnant women every day. It's the nature of her job, and her job is to help them. So her outlook is probably a bit, um, skewed. A17 year old high school dropout who's never held a full time job, pregnant with her second child and unable to even remember how many guys she had sex with, let alone the name of the father, can walk into her office and emerge an hour later with healthcare, food assistance, housing assistance and a monthly stipend. So why shouldn't I, a professional with college degrees, plural, who toiled relentlessly at a career only to be downsized and outsourced with 100 of her coworkers, someone who paid copious taxes (income, sales, and property, among others), enjoy the same government benefits? All it takes is a sperm hitting an egg. In that social worker's eyes, the solution to most of my problems is obvious. Get pregnant.

I should have gotten mad or indignant or something. But I could see it from her perspective. She was just offering realistic advice from the perspective of her side of the social worker desk. And after all, prior to the layoff I was working tirelessly on a plan to adopt, so the idea of a child is not crazy. But the idea of knowingly bringing a child into a world that relies on government assistance is crazy, at least for me. I should also say that I believe children are a privilege, not a right. (I feel the same way about pets, too.) So obviously my resistance and balking at the idea of getting pregnant at a time in my life when I can't even afford both toothpaste and shampoo goes without saying. Not. Going. To. Happen.

I thanked the social worker for her time and left.

But, the Universe just loves to mock me with ironies even Shakespeare would consider overkill.

Yesterday my gynecologist emailed me the results of one of the tests. All good news, mostly, and, further, she noted that thanks to the uptick in my ovulation I should be extra cautious with birth control. Unless of course I want to get pregnant, in which case this would be a great time to conceive.

Poverty is a series of compromises. But this is one I'm not willing to make.

Sometimes I feel defeated. I try not to let that happen because it's a slippery slope. I've learned that forcing myself to stay positive is better, in the long run, that giving into defeat.  Yes, I'm desperate, on many (many) levels I am in desperate circumstances. And desperation forces you to make choices you wouldn't normally make. But. The repercussions of washing my hair with hand soap are minimal and personal. The repercussions of getting pregnant while unemployed and in foreclosure are far reaching, long term, and affect an innocent child. There's no way I'm going to get pregnant (presuming I can find a willing, or too drunk to care, sperm donor) so that I can get a government allowance that will provide me with enough money to buy shampoo and toothpaste.

The bottom line, for me, is that I don't want any assistance. From anyone. I want a job that pays me enough to support myself, and, maybe, if I can ever get back on my financial feet, support an adopted child, too.

And then I picked up my mail. One of my (pretty much former) friends sent me an invitation to a charity dinner. The charity provides healthcare to low income parents who can't afford IVF treatments.

I'll let you think about that for a minute.

This friend had difficulty conceiving their second child so they went through five rounds of IVF treatments. Usually doctors only give it three rounds, but because they had one successful conception and child under their belts, and because my friends had the money to throw at the problem, the doctors agreed to two more rounds of treatments. Fifth time was the charm and the result was twins. IVF treatments are not usually covered by health insurance and they cost a lot of money. When they finally got pregnant they referred to their twins as the Six Million Dollar Babies. They were only half joking. A second mortgage on their very expensive suburban home was required. During this process, my friend often commented that they were lucky they could afford IVF and she felt bad for couples who couldn't afford the treatments. A sweet sentiment that speaks to her compassionate nature and love of children. (I told you my friends aren't as horrible as I sometimes make them sound.) But. The cynical but realistic other side of that sentiment is that if you can't afford IVF treatments, you might not be able to afford to raise children. Octomom comes to everyone's mind.

This friend and I went to lunch after they found out the third IVF attempt failed. Holding her then three-and-a-half year old son on her lap, she looked me with tear laden eyes and said, "You have no idea what it's like to desperately want a child and not have one." I chose to presume she was too mired in her own quest to a) recognize that she has a child, sitting on her lap and old enough to get the gist of what she was saying and wondering, "what am I, chopped liver?" and b) realize who she was talking to and the sting of irony her words left on me. I was compassionate, I understood. But clearly she had no clue that, in fact, I do know what it feels like to want a child and not have one, even better than she does because she already had a child.

I was vaguely aware that my friend, so concerned about low income couples who can't afford IVF, found a charity that provides assistance to said couples. But I haven't heard from her in a while, and certainly haven't heard about her new charity project. Until now. A $400/plate donation is required to attend the event. There's a silent auction featuring items like expensive paintings, a few celebrity signed items and a trip to some fancy pants resort island. The invitation was one of those super expensive swilly boxes-instead-of-envelope things containing a pamphlet on IVF, a fancy embossed invitation and response card, little silver charm of a lotus blossom. My friend scrawled note on a Post-it note stuck to the lid of the box, "I know it's a lot of money but it's for such a great cause. You know what we went through with the twins. Hoping you can join us, it'll be a fun night!"

I went to the charity's website, and sure enough, in the sidebar testimonials there was a photo of my friend and her twins with a heartfelt statement about her IVF saga. "...we cannot imagine the pain of broken dreams couples who can't afford IVF treatment have to live with. IVF fulfilled our dream of having a family. When it comes to the gift of precious children, money should not be an issue. Help us ease the burden and pain of infertility by creating a financial bridge to parenthood."

I'm pretty sure you can feel my eyes rolling.

Even if this hadn't arrived on the heels of my health issues/visit with the social worker about healthcare/email from my gynecologist, my reaction would have been one of, "Are you kidding me? What about easing the burden of pain unemployment is causing one of your oldest friends?! How about a bridge to understanding that $400 is a lot of money? How about imagining that IVF isn't exactly a high priority in terms of social problems that need attention?" I walked around ranting, thrusting the fancy invitation Heavenward. "There are thousands of children waiting to be adopted into loving homes...There are people who don't have safe drinking water, children dying because of contaminated water... There are people in her own community who can't afford food...They're dropping toxic mice on Guam for crying out loud...And yet she expects people to pony up $400/plate to help low income couples get IVF treatments, treatments that have a failure rate of something like 75 - 85%?" Yeah, it was quite the rant. I dunno. Maybe I do have compassion fatigue. Maybe unemployment has made me cynical. It's not that I want her, or anyone else, to give me money. I don't want to be anyone's charity.


Oh never mind.

I suppose it was just the timing that got to me. And because she's been so out of touch she doesn't have a clue what I've been going through. It's not her fault. She's a good person. She loves her children. She's trying to help other people have children. No harm in that. Accept. Forgive. Heal. Peace. Love. Duh.

I did get a laugh imagining the scenario wherein I decide to get pregnant and meet with her over lunch to tell her the news. "You know, it was so easy! My gynecologist said my ovaries were overactive and it would be an good time to get pregnant and the social worker said I'd get lots of government aid if I had a child, so, I just went for it! Found the first drunk guy coherent enough to get it up and, poof! bun in the oven!"

Imaging that scenario was funny, but it also made me realize the full absurdity of the idea of me getting pregnant, now, while I'm unemployed, squatting in my tiny foreclosed condo, and haven't even had a date in years. What must seem so simple in that social worker's eyes is as difficult and absurd as me endeavoring to climb Mount Everest in four inch heels. Sure, it's just a matter of perspective, but poverty hasn't compromised my integrity to the point of stupidity.

*I actually really love this phrase because it speaks to a very bygone era of catchy euphemisms, an era when there was an open awareness about the grittier, more tawdry aspects of society, but you still didn't come out and say certain words. When I was a kid and overheard the term "turning tricks" on the cop shows my brother watched, I thought it meant that the woman in question was doing magic shows. My brother happened to be going through a phase of mastering magic tricks, so when he practiced his tricks I'd say, "he's turning tricks." My family used to laugh when I said it, but when I told someone at church that my brother was turning tricks after church my parents put an end to my "cute misunderstanding." But, the use of that phrase also speaks to how out of touch my friend is with reality outside her gated community. I guarantee that she would never take up prostitution, for any reason, even to save her home. And to her, the idea that she would ever have to work any job again is so preposterous that the exaggeration of what she'd do if she had to save her home is on par with her lifestyle. Both ideas are so far out of the realm of her daily existence that of course all she can do is exaggerate to an extreme and silly degree.

3:23 PM

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