Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Darth Vader tries his first Double-IPA






Dealing with government agencies is fun, though I try to find a way to get my kicks on any given phone call. I can usually get a laugh out of the person on the other end. In fairness, sometimes it is only me that is laughing. I too easily succumb to the irrational pleasures of absurdism. I'm certain that I am recorded each and every time. Something about the idea of it appeals to my sense of vanity and posterity. 

Trying to deal with any end-of-year issue is always a struggle. I've been on hold now for 45 minutes, listening to a loop of music and announcements that they must have spent the better part of twenty dollars on for production and/or usage rights. It's not actually a government agency, they only function like one. For anybody that has ever had to deal with them before, they sit somewhere between employment and the government; timecards, paycheck reports, benefit elections, etc. Their website accurately reflects everything that you need to know about them in terms of aesthetics, functionality, and competence. 

I avoid using their three letter denominator because I very much like my job and do not wish to disparage one of our partners publicly.

I must assume that there is only one person working in their office today, a Muslim. This is not to denigrate Muslims, rather only to recognize that this is a popular time of the year for Christians to be useless at home rather than on the job, as is their yearly custom.

It is a tax issue. There are miniature governmental benefits to having a child. Some of my earnings each pay period are taken out of my paycheck and then given back to me untaxed by an organization of bunglers. The struggle of dealing with them makes it almost not worth it, but I am able to still be productive in the background, so there is that.

Perhaps I am a Muslim now, in addition to my other faiths. 

I have never understood why it wouldn't simply be easier to put the money right back into my paycheck, untaxed, rather than the bureaucracy that is so mismanaged as to be by design. I have to use fax machines and wait for the regular post. I had thought that my mailbox had exclusively become a spam folder.

Dealing with the person that I am now can best be described as the oft-used and equally misused phrase, Kafka-esque. She is telling me something that is in direct conflict with the last bit of information that I was given when I called two weeks ago, and even in conflict with the last bit of information that SHE gave me. When I asked her to check on it she told me that she didn't have to, that it's all right in front of her on her computer. 

Having things on your computer makes things much simpler, I said. I then had her cross-reference the two forms that I had recently submitted and asked if the second one would make any sense unless I had been given misinformation. She did concede that what I had done made no sense at all. She was happy enough to confirm that for me. I then had her verify that I had called in about two weeks ago. Then, I had her quickly check that I have been operating under certain understandings and assumptions for several years now, and must have been operating on the different information that I was given then, two weeks ago. It was the only explanation that made any sense to her, or me, though I let her stumble a bit before I summated the experience with error on their part. 

She wondered how I ever came by certain numbers that appeared on the form, as they had nothing to do with me as an individual, but were rather account numbers that were nearly unrelated to me. How else would I have ever had the numbers that I submitted via fax shortly after that call, I wondered allowed to her. 

How indeed?

Dearheart, I believe we've already concluded how this error might have happened. Let's move towards a resolution together?



The "hold music" is so old that I can hear parts where the tape has stretched and I am reminded of how unintentionally psychedelic and pleasant tape recordings can sometimes be. It is that old, a tape loop that has stretched from perpetual use. I can envision the cartridge, on a top shelf in a closet near a manager's office, whirring lightly, playing through weekends. 

It was used in Nirvana's earliest recordings. 


Okay, she came back and explained everything. There must have been a misunderstanding on my part. My untaxed money was on its way to my via the United States Postal Service. In fact, it should have arrived some time ago, having been mailed on the 22nd of the month.

I giggled. I may have even farted. 


Oh no. You see... I live in a remote area, trapped neatly between California suburbs, though separated by two small mountain ranges, one merely a visible echo in the earth of the other. It's a small place called Sonoma. It is quite uncomplicated by highways, and mail trucks. Even the Amazon calls it remote. There is a two-lane road that leads up the valley that is colloquially known as "12." It's a bike path that was made for small energy efficient cars - able to drive in small dreams at night, almost wide enough from which to escape them, unnoticed at dawn.




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