A black cat wanders the streets of my neighborhood. It snoops around the dumpster looking for food, it lies in the sun bathing itself, and it never fails to cross the street in front of me when I leave. And, lately, I’ve had a ton of bad stuff happen. Call it bad luck, call it my foreordained fate, call it what you will, but I think that black cat is to blame.

First, I get pulled over for speeding. That in itself is not so bad. But when I can’t find my proof of insurance and later find out my insurance has been canceled, it’s real bad.

So, I do what anyone who’s been to court and knows the ropes does. I buy insurance before my court date, which drops the fine from $500 to $50. I go to court, am told I have to pay $188 ($138 in court costs) and I go home, not quite happy, but relieved because it could be worse.

Of course, I have to slow down before entering my driveway and wait for the black cat to strut across. I could swear it looks at me with an evil glint in its eye.

Two days later, I get a letter in the mail telling me my license has been suspended for two years. I get so upset I’m shaking.

See, I have just gotten my license back after not having it for about three years. It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it as short as possible.

I let a friend borrow my car. He wrecked it. He didn’t have a license. It was his fault. I was sued. I failed to pay. My license was suspended.

Which is why I am so upset at receiving a letter telling me my license has been suspended again. I call the driver’s license place. I explain my dilemma.

Why was I told at court that all I had to do was pay a fine? I ask. The lady on the phone doesn’t know the answer, and sounds as if she doesn’t really care.

“What about a hardship license?” I ask. She tells me the only people who can get those are people whose licenses have been suspended because of DUIs. She’s using her most polite and friendly phone voice. I wish I could reach into the phone and konk her one.

“You’re telling me that if my license is suspended because I drive drunk I can get a hardship license, but I can’t get one for driving without insurance, when I didn’t even know I didn’t have insurance?” I practically scream.

I feel kind of bad about that now, because my problem isn’t this lady’s fault. But I want my license, dagnabbit.

“If you have a problem with the law, you need to talk to your lawmakers,” she snaps back at me. Dejected, I just hang up the phone.

I call the courthouse. I again explain my problem.

Well, I have to write a motion asking the judge to put it back in court. I’m still working on it, in case anyone is wondering.

Fast forward about a week. I have to renew my eligibility for Medicaid.

I go to my appointment, encountering black cat again, and find out, as always, that I have to have a crap ton of papers filled out. And I have to turn in a bank statement.

I take the forms to the office. A few days later when I get home and check the mail-the black cat strolling leisurely in front of my car as I pull up at my mailbox-I get another letter, this one saying my Medicaid will be cut off because I have too much money in the bank.

I call my worker and explain that every penny of the money I have in the bank is from my school grants and loans, which don’t count when the cabinet determines eligibility for its programs.

She agrees these funds don’t count, but says that because I have them saved in the bank, they count as resources.


But this problem I fix easily. I withdraw enough money to put me under the limit and pay some bills just a little early.

But I have to go through the hassle of reapplying. I am seriously thinking of catching that black cat and taking it to the Humane Society.

I have a suspicion, though, that it will somehow escape-probably on Halloween night-and wind up right on my doorstep.

Worse yet, I will come home after my night class that evening and find 10 black cats walking back and forth in front of my driveway.

That’s the stuff nightmares are made of.