I recently got a bill for my car insurance along with a letter. The company was all puffed up with their magnanimity because — as they said in the letter — people were driving less, saving them billions of dollars, so were giving the money back to their customers via discounts. Sounds great, right? And sure enough, the bill did show a discount of $30. But a quick perusal of my previous bill showed that they had raised my rates by $40 for a net increase of $10. If rates are based on the company’s costs and payouts, and if people were in fact driving less and hence getting in fewer accidents and costing the company less, how could my base insurance have gone up? Sounds arbitrary to me, and just another of the many ways big companies look out for us and thank us for our patronage.
On a less cynical note, the workers finally were able to get the jackhammer to tear up my old sidewalk in preparation for building a new one without bumps and cracks for me to trip over. (Now these people really do look out for me, paying attention to things that might be hazardous around here for me as I get older, and they don’t brag about their magnanimity, either.)
They’re planning on coming back this afternoon to remove the concrete so that tomorrow they will be able to start building the framework for the new sidewalk and stoop, which brings me closer to being able to use the back door. I am so looking forward to not tracking mud into the house! I’d be tracking in some anyway, but I have an area set up in the enclosed porch by the back door for a mud “room” to help keep from tracking the dirt into the rest of the house. (I remove my shoes when I come inside no matter what door I use, but the bigger mats in the back collect more dirt than the smaller ones in front.)
The guys were worried about me inadvertently walking out the back door and damaging myself on the river of broken concrete, but I assured them I am long out of the habit of using that door. (The step is way too steep for my still-healing knee.) Too bad the broken concrete is so dangerous and impractical, because it has a rather appealing artistry to it.
Still, practicality is more important than artistry, and a new sidewalk will be wonderful. It will certainly be more of a boon than any fake discount, and more concrete.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator