A Real Person

Good morning, Vietnam! I think Robin Williams said that that once or twice. Welcome!

I would like to think I was a real person when I left at age 17 for college and got my first few jobs. I was also a volunteer coordinator and trainer for 20 years in my off-hours as a consultant.

My husband asked me to quit all that and has moved me around the country and world for years. Now I write, cook, walk our old dog, pay bills and taxes and assure that our household is kept up. I feel useless. Now that we have a new business I feel even more useless as I am asked to do something and he does it himself.

Even persons who bill us for electricity or whatever say I’m “just the wife” and they cannot speak with me without my husband’s permission. Even our bank. I had my accounts years before I even met my husband and gave him co-signing authority two days after our wedding. Same thing, wait ’til your husband comes home, have him give you access to your accounts and hand over the phone.

That’s kind of tough when my husband is 2,000 miles away five days per week. I’m not a person anymore. No-one treats me seriously, but at least they don’t know my age or the pain I go through every day, having been mis-diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis over 30 years ago. All people know is that I walk our ancient dog Zoe four times a day and say good morning, and when I try to walk to the grocery store I now have a three-wheeled cart for which I put my purse in the back for ballast because it tends to flip to the front.

Working as a legislative analyst for the Assembly Speaker I worked on ADA back in the day. I can tell you that years later, even new buildings are no-where near compliant for people with disabilities. We are not seen.

Nobody knows or cares that I’ve been a bill-drafter, lobbyist, consultant. I would get up at 3:00 a.m. and write a 25 page bill, to give to the drafters. They didn’t change a thing and thanked me because none of my 62 peers ever drafted their own legislation. They just said “I want this. Write it.”

Once there was a political situation at a committee meeting I staffed. Party politics were the issue and it was a small land sale that had been approved by the Governor, Senate and Assembly leadership. Of course I’d called the government lawyer who had supervised and approved the survey results and the four-page bill.

When the minority leader asked how large (tiny) the land mass was that we were selling to a private individual, the chairman balked. I touched his arm and said “I have this.” He nodded, first time ever. I asked for another copy of the bill and compared them for a few seconds and told the minority leader “Four Pages.” Everyone burst out laughing and it passed on party lines. Hey, I’m no surveyor! I’m a problem solver. That’s just what I do. Cheers, Dee

 

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