. Maria and I, were on our errand of mercy in our neighborhood; a very old and slightly unstable lady, who lived alone, in our neighborhood, needed help once again, and we had donned our white facemasks, to keep out the extreme pollen,, city smog, flying ragweed, and other assorted delights of summer. Everywhere we went, it was the same picture everybody was wearing their white facemasks covering the nose and mouth, trying to keep out the natural and very unnatural pollution of our brilliant summer months.
Our friend of the neighborhood, Matilda, lived alone, and was in her 60s or 70s; supposedly she had the services of “senior and disabled of Lane County,” because she was on disability or Social Security, and didn’t have much of an income. She didn’t have much of a apartment either; we came up the walk way, which was littered with garbage bags, and cat litter boxes, knocked on her door, and she let us in. “Watch out for the pellets,” she said, she had just bought her cat A pet rabbit. (??) “What could I do, she was getting lonely!” said Matilda sadly.
I knew that Matilda was rather crippled up with returning polio, and bad arthritis, and she had an electric wheelchair. Her cat was sleeping in it. We could barely get into the room, the small living room, because there were large boxes everywhere, empty, and lots of paper bags and old leftover plastic bags. Her meal was still on her tray, and I asked her “hasn’t your homecare worker come over to wash dishes yet, or anything?” “No, she replied “the Fourth of July holiday is near , and she only does one room at a time. The back room got it, the huge closet, because it was full of bags of used kitty litter. That had to go out.” That explained all the garbage bags in the front, on the lawn. (What was left of the lawn.)
I looked out the window, but all I could see was all the dirt covering over the window. The curtains didn’t look too great either. None of it did. “how can you stand to live in this,?” Maria asked her, as we started to get our garbage bags out, to clean everything up, and our Lysol and bleach, lots of sponges, and started using the mop and sponges on the bathroom. the bathroom looked and smelled like it hadn’t been cleaned in a YEAR. The shower stall on the flooring was absolutely BLACK. Either it was dirt or mold. It was a good thing both Maria and I were wearing face masks, otherwise the stench would’ve killed us.
the big garbage can in the tiny kitchen,was filled to overflowing; Maria and I had our work cut out for us. It took several hours, actually about a half a day, more like four or five hours, and we had made some headway, and the bathroom no longer stank so badly.I haven’t worked this hard since I had been a surveyor for the state, working out on the highways, and worked alongside men.
we were sweating profusely, and Matilda gave us two glasses of water with ice in them. All three of us sat down, in her tiny living room, and Maria and I both looked at each other.” Haven’t you tried to get a new house care worker from senior and disabled?” I said to Matilda.”oh yes,” she replied, “I’ve done that several times, in fact this is about the –” she started counting on her fingers. – “This is the 20th homecare worker I have had with senior and disabled.” Maria and I were flabbergasted; “why have you had so many?” Maria asked, puzzled.
“often when I ask them to do housework,” said Matilda sadly, “they either ignore me, only do a little, or else they just quit. I’ve heard they make more off getting unemployment anyway, then they do this work.” There was a silence. “In fact,” continued Matilda, “one of them finally told me, a really nice lady, that a lot of the homecare workers for senior and disabled, deliberately force their clients to fire them, by not showing up, or not doing the work, so they can collect unemployment.”
“What do they get paid for doing this work?” Asked Maria.”they used to get paid $10 an hour, but now I think they only get nine dollars an hour, and sometimes they have to work some hours for free. It’s just how the senior and disabled works it out.so they figure that getting unemployment, is a lot better than working at this, even though this is the only work they can get.they get home care workers who can’t do anything else for a living.”
Matilda continue to tell us, she had had one homecare worker, a lady with five children and no husband, who had been rumored to be selling methamphetamines out of her apartment. (She found this out later.)
“I don’t understand,” said I, irritated. “Don’t they screen these people?””I don’t know,” said Matilda, “some of my friends have complained to senior and disabled about this, but nothing ever happens. I know other seniors and disabled people who are even in worse straits. homecare workers steal, show up for work drunk, don’t show, and even tried to get extra money out of old or disabled people, because the clients are in a vulnerable position.” Maria and I were horrified.
However, I had heard stuff like this coming out of the social services departments of this County and the city of Eugene.Matilda also was supposed to have some kind of therapist (she had mild schizophrenia) with Lane County mental health, but that never worked out either; the therapist tried to palm her off on another agency, stop making appointments, and never got in contact or got her another therapist. I had also heard rumors about Lane County mental health like this also.
Not the first time. “Why don’t you get a hold of your doctor over at peace health?” Maria said, sipping her water. Matilda just put up her hands, as if in surrender, and continued “my medical doctor doesn’t have anything to do with this, the different departments don’t talk to each other.” She said.” I don’t think any of them do!” “but you must have a worker over at senior and disabled!” “Oh, yes I think I have a new one, but I can’t ever get a hold of her, or him. I’ve never met them.”
This was sounding more and more bizarre, but not for the city of Eugene, and this County. we decided to stop asking Matilda anymore questions, about senior and disabled, or the mental health department, because it was getting us nowhere; in a different state, I had run into the same thing with the social services, of the city or county because they were whats known as,BUREAUCRACIES.
BUREAUCRACIES have lots of little separate departments, all disconnected from each other, getting County and city and state and even federal money, and that’s all they care about. As long as they keep getting their paychecks, and the departments keep getting money,they keep on rolling along, even though the actual WORK they do, does not function or ever get done, even if the clients or patients don’t get helped, or actually get harmed.
In fact, I remembered that I had complained about those bureaucracies, before, many many complaints, and all kinds of forms, letters, e-mails, phone messages, and nothing ever changed. BUREAUCRACIES are shielded from complaints. They are shielded from IMPROVEMENT, and unless someone dies, or there is a horrible disaster, and it’s made very public, in the news nobody ever knows about it. Probably nobody knew about this.
well, Maria and I had done our good deeds,and Maria decided to let her church know about this, so some of the other members could come over, and help out also. Maria belonged to a really nice Baptist Church, on the other side of town, and its members were very charitable and helpful to the community. And they didn’t get paid for it.
“what should we do About the Lane County mental health Department,?” Said Maria to me, later. “Matilda has slight schizophrenia, and I’m worried about her not having any therapist, and not even her medical doctor knowing. I don’t understand any of this; don’t they have psychiatrists over at Lane County mental health Department? Don’t they handle any of this?” “When have you ever known a psychiatrist to actually handle anything, instead of just telling people to solve their own problems?” I answered sarcastically.I decided that Matilda was better off, with that department, NOT having a therapist!
What she would do about her medication, I had no idea, and I was getting really tired of Matilda’s friends having to worry, and do the social services work, That Lane County mental health, and senior and disabled of Lane County was supposed to be doing. Not to mention, now a lot of church members were going to get involved, and probably have to take over the entire thing.
I sighed. That was the thing about BUREAUCRACIES; nobody had to take any responsibility in any of them, they just kept passing it on to someone else, another department, and all the departments ignored each other! It sounded like Russia and the Communist socialized government they had! And we all know what happened to them; at some point, they completely CRASHED.
WHEN this state, and county, and city of Eugene also, would get to that point, I had no idea. They were probably already there. It just was not very publicly known. I suppose that lots of other churches and synagogues,were pitching in, trying to fill all the very huge cracks, and having a tough time.
BUREAUCRACIES have a very good excuse for not functioning; “we don’t have enough money! GIVE US MORE MONEY!”
in fact, that’s exactly what this County and the city of Eugene carped about all the time; “there are no schools, because you don’t give us enough money! All of the social services don’t function, because, YOU don’t give us enough TAXES! We need more TAXES! TAXES! MORE TAXES!”
even the police department complained, “we can’t keep people in jail, you don’t give us enough TAXES!” however,”more taxes” all the time, had not kept that girl, who was supposed to be monitored by social services here, recently, from being murdered and starved to death by her mother. They had a ready excuse, “Gee, we didn’t know, we don’t have enough workers, we don’t have enough money! Why don’t you give us more TAXES?”
Okay, then are you going to be able to function? “We really don’t know, why don’t you give us more money and find out?”the voters had already done that for Lane County, in the city of Eugene, and it had made no difference in the functioning of the different departments and in social services.
The real problems were, that in the departments, lots of cronyism,non-efficiency, non-work, laziness, complete disorganization, and the lack of any need to actually perform their duties, led to this situation.
They kept getting paid, so they don’t have to do anything! It’s not like private business out there, you don’t have to perform your job to keep it; in fact, it’s even better, if you don’t make any waves, sit there and pretend to do something in a bureaucracy,nobody ever fires you. Nobody ever asks you to do more work, you already” look BUSY”.
that probably accounted for the fact that, unless you actually were actively murdering somebody with a gun, the Police Department and the sheriffs department that you called, never came out, never responded, and never put anybody in jail (the excuse, as usual was that, “you don’t give us enough money for jail! MORE JAIL MONEY!”)
(if you give the sheriff’s department men more money, what do they do with it? They just use their firearms, while they load or clean them, to shoot themselves in the foot, or in the hand. That was hilarious! Ever since I found out about that, I had to realize, there was somebody in the county who was a lot worse at handling firearms than I was; the guys in the sheriff’s department.
finally,Maria and I parted ways, promising to check up on Matilda again soon, and make sure that her food didn’t end up in the cat’s litter box, or the litter box didn’t wind up in her food. (That had actually happened once, fortunately she didn’t die from it; I’m not sure about the cat.)
on my way home,I noticed some newly moved in “rich hippies”, who, from the stickers on their monster Mercedes-Benz car, had just moved here from California, and were busily buying extremely expensive ORGANIC GROCERIES, from one of the cute little boutique “organic farmers markets” that sold fruits and vegetables to “very rich liberal hippies who moved here from California”, and thought that the city of Eugene was so “CUTE!”– – And “GREEN, sustainable, socially responsible” etc. etc.,
(and do I have to tell you more of what it’s become like here, since all the “liberal rich hippies” have moved here, buy very expensive organic food, wear very expensive designer “hippie bohemian” clothing(organic cotton, no synthetic fabrics, NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY!”) smoke and take very expensive and exclusive marijuana, cocaine, and other wonderful almost illegal drugs,and pretend that, despite the SMOG overlying the Valley constantly,and the 10 year drought that Oregon and this Valley was suffering from, that gardening was WONDERFUL here, it was easy to grow food or flowers, and it was just “rainbows and springtime!” – – In Eugene and the County of Lane.
I had to chuckle, and kept on walking; all these wonderful, newly moved” liberal rich hippies” who bought very expensive organic food, and sneered at polyester, never had worked as a homecare worker, in Oregon, for nine dollars an hour, and had to eat real food. Real food that was becoming, although it was “agribusiness grown,” was becoming increasingly expensive to buy, if you made nine dollars an hour.
what were they doing, to help the situation? Well, they did demand that everybody PAY MORE TAXES. They did do that. They thought we were all rich, like they were.or else, they just didn’t give a shit.the latter was a lot more likely. I decided if there was any way, I could take any kind of tax write off, for any charity, I was going to do that this year, rather than go out and buy any “organic tomatoes”, or “organic apples” at that cute little boutique “organic supermarket” advertised in the newspaper.
I would just give the money to the Seventh-day Adventist church in Eugene, or the Baptist Church, or any of the churches that did all the charity work, fed people, helped people, and generally tried to fill all the very big holes left by our infinitely wonderful County social services department, and mental health departments in the city of Eugene, the mayor, and most of all, the wonderful government of the city of Eugene.
actually, I don’t like organic food very much. And I don’t plan to. A tomato, is a tomato, is a tomato, is a tomato. and I’m still thankful I can afford them at all.
(Sandraminadotty, in, Eugene, Oregon, and Lane County, Western Oregon, saying to every one of you “don’t eat organic food! Take the extra money, and give it to your favorite church, or synagogue, it’s JUST a tomato!.”) 😉