As I write this, my cat is staring at me. I would say reproachfully (because I won’t let her climb on my laptop) but in addition to being indefensible -- why should I assign a human emotion to a cat? - is also implausible, because it implies that the cat can have opinions about me and what I do. Cats, at least this cat, simply exist at the feed me/clean my litter box level. They don't have thoughts as much as reactions. They're great fun, and I do very much enjoy having one, but as for being emotionally connected in any way, they're more like furry Pet Rocks. I like to say that cats have swappable intelligences – the animus that exists in my cat right this minute may be in the furry head of a cat in Singapore ten minutes from now. When a cat goes away, getting into a zen-like state, it’s actually lost it’s propelling mind and is now running purely on instinct. When the cat goes awake again, an intelligence has arrived – possibly the same one from moments ago, possibly one that was up to that moment in another cat. It’s my explanation of why a cat can bolt into a room in a tearing fury and abruptly stop and begin to lick itself. The old intelligence set the run like a bat out of hell switch, and then departed; the new one has flicked off the switch and now wants to explore the new environment, starting with itself.
But that's not what I wanted to write about.
I don’t like relying on other people, but what I suspect is that I don’t like
relying on people whose behavior I cannot affect. Romney said during his
campaign that he likes being able to fire people, which he intended to mean that
he likes making sure they’re doing their job, keeping the good ones and dumping
the bad (unfortunately for him, it came out as another oblivious rich guy
comment). I feel the same way about the organizations that have encroached our
lives like ivy, worming their way into the cracks of our lives, taking advantage
of our inattention to establish a foothold. For example - I don’t really
believe, but it’s helpful to act as if I do, that the organizations
that go by names like pharmacy benefits managers should actually be
called drug use reducers, because for me their effect is that they
reduce the ease with which I can get drugs that I need. Used to be, I’d get a
prescription for insulin (and why should one need a prescription for insulin?
Do people think that it can be whipped into some sexy new mood alterer?), go to
the drug store, come home with it. Now the drugs are mailed out by a
pharmacy benefits manager, which likes to operate under its own rules.
Every year or so, something significant about them changes – they get bought out
by a different organization, they change their name, they alter the way their
web site works, they establish new requirements for their passwords – and you
get to adapt to it. There’s no benefit to you for doing this, but if you want
what they control, you’ve got to do it. This is why elderly people seem so
flummoxed so often. They lived their entire lives, each change being handled
as they came along, but now the speed of change is increasing during a period
that their ability to handle each change is decreasing. They’re not stupid;
they’re just overwhelmed.
So I’d like to fire these guys and just say here’s my money, give me the
drugs. At one time, I could do that. Now I can’t, and I dislike it.