Charles is scared, very scared

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I read it is hot everywhere. Sure is in Durham with the subjective heat level at 105. Coming from swampy Savannah, GA where we didn't have an air conditioner until I was about fourteen muggy weather isn't that dispiriting. Except in the shop. The shop consists of two old Army barracks shoved together. The half with the work area has a higher floor and ceiling. Convection draws the other side's heat across us. I work in the one warm spot in the shop. A miserable place to be sitting at a computer. Makes me come home feeling wrenched out.

Once again Charles is off to Raleigh. Again I encouraged him to go. He's been miserable the last couple of days and I hoped going to a meeting of the Mary Renault Society would perk up his spirits. They don't talk about Renault. The meetings are a pretext for mostly older gay men to hang out, have a few cocktails and chat.

Charles has received disability benefits from social security since he was eighteen. Back then crohn's disease left him trapped for many days if not in the hospital in great pain.

Recently he was told that his right to the benefits was to be evaluated. Yesterday he went in for his physical evaluation. I don't think taking his pulse, blood pressure and temperature will tell them anything about the condition of his intestines.

Tuesday he'll go for the psychological evaluation. He wasn't under psychiatric care back when they started. Out of prudence we added that to the form the Social Security Administration sent a few weeks ago. Again I'm not sure what they can see unless they want to scare him so badly the panic attack makes him faint. And they won't have the time to watch him go forty hours without sleep when he shifts into a bipolar high.

So Charles is scared, very scared. As you or I would be if our main supply of the money to live by were in danger of being snatched away. Being Charles is even more scared than we might be.

A decade on the dole isn't apt to appeal to an employer. Nor the warning that nausea or sleeplessness might keep him out of work two or three days a week. Yesterday the examiner suggested that he might be able to work from home using a computer. Unsurprisingly he didn't have anything specific in mind. Maybe the "Earn $1,000 a week from home with your PC" signs that decorate Durham's telephone poles have often tempted him.

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Charles is scared, very scared
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