Archives for category: Hypochondria

Tornado warning over Manhattan, July 2010, by RM

This weekend, an epidemic of insomnia swept through the city. OK, so I can’t actually prove that, but in the highly unscientific survey I have conducted of the literal handful of people I’ve spoken to since Saturday, there are maybe four who, like me, have repeatedly woken up drenched in sweat every night since Thursday.

Tonight I finally realised the reason, and I’m at least 85 per cent sure it’s not the onset of early menopause: the Humidity has arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

Because God forbid the bumper gets used as a bumper

Because God forbid the bumper gets used as a bumper

Really? I mean, really?

Really? I mean, really?

And this, posted in the ladies at a New York university:

Is it unreasonable to expect a student of college-level to know how to wash their hands?

Is it unreasonable to expect a student of college-level to know how to wash their hands?

After seven months in this country, I’ve finally got round to sorting out some health insurance. Not that it’s quite kicked in yet – if I get hit by a bus before May 1st, I could very easily max out both my credit cards, use up all my savings, and still be paying off the debt for years to come.

Actually, I’m more likely to get hit by a fire engine, since they’re way more common than buses in this city – so common, in fact, that there aren’t enough fires or cats in trees to go round. This means that there is genuinely a policy to send one along every time someone needs an ambulance, which also, for some peculiar reason, are run by the fire department. Yep, doesn’t make sense to me either.

Anyway, so in a couple of weeks time, I’ll be paying $150.11 a month for the privilege of not ending up in debt should I end up in hospital. But that doesn’t cover anything else. If I wanted to have proper health insurance, where I could see a doctor in a non-emergency – say, if I had a virus that required antibiotics, or I needed a smear test – then I would not be covered. To be fully covered for that kind of thing, including prescriptions, I’d need to pay $752.63. Per month. I am not exaggerating.

Which means that it’s actually cheaper to fly home and see my GP. Carbon footprint be damned…

This is the counter in Rite Aid, a chain-store chemist:

The width of this lady is not coincidental

The width of this lady is not coincidental

Keen-eyed readers will note several interesting details:

1. The large selection of sweets available to purchase on the spur of the moment.

2. The cigarettes.

3. The slightly obscured sign for the ‘No Smoking Center’, right next to the cigarettes. Here, you can choose from a large selection of nicotine patches and gum, if you’ve managed to resist the fags. (To the left of the Non Smoking Center, you can also buy pipes, loose tobacco and various other smoking paraphenalia.)

4. The fact that the lady is buying Haagen Dasz.

5. The fact that this is a chemist. In a country with a mysteriously high percentage of very fat, unhealthy people.


From the sandwiches to the average waistline, Americans don’t do anything by halves. So when you get a windy day here, this is what happens:

Tree beats car

Tree beats car

I was walking up the other side of the road, as, fortunately, was everyone else left standing there open-mouthed. On the news today, a woman in New Jersey was killed when the exact same thing happened, only she was inside the car.

Note to self: must sort out some health insurance…

This is how cold the winters get in New York: today I burnt my fingers and thumbs on the wind. I actually have minor frost bite.

The funny thing about the weather in here is that it rarely feels as cold as it says on the news. Most of the time, it’s a dry cold – very different from the damp English chill that sinks into your bones.

This is what I was thinking when I got on my bike today to meet some new friends for lunch. Minus six degrees centigrade? Ah, it’ll be fine once I get going.

Big mistake. Huge.

Because newbie cyclist that I am, I didn’t account for the wind chill factor. I was out for 90 minutes, and it took 10 minutes to calm down and defrost once I got back inside.

How stupid do I feel? Very. Not least because I also can’t help feeling a tiny bit proud of myself for getting out of the house in this weather. It’s only going to get colder, after all…