tales of a girl in the city

mars 13, 2004

On Taxes, Gypsies and Other Goings-On

These are some things that have happened to me lately, during the period that we will now refer to forever as The Dark Time.

1. Taxes.

Since many of you guys aren't American and, therefore, have gotten out of dealing with US Gov't Tax Forms (LUCKY!), I will attempt to recreate their magic...right...HERE.

Start with a number. Any number, really. If you're poor, like me, it should be a pretty small number. No more than five digits; REMEMBER, this number represents your income.

Put that number on a sheet of paper, and draw a little box around it. In the corner of the little box, make a teeny-tiny Number One.

Now, take a ruler, and divide the rest of the paper into seventeen-thousand-twenty-five other boxes.

Next to each box, write something utterly nonsensical, but official-seeming. Like, "Part-year city of New York resident tax on capital gain portion of lump-sum distributions created by the sale of dairy products between the hours of five and seven p.m. on days of the month divisible by five."

Now, this next part is very important.

Next to each utterly nonsensical, but official-seeming thing you have written, you must also add AT LEAST ONE, and possibly all, of the following.

a) The phrase "(See instructions)". However, do not under any circumstances write any sort of page number following this phrase. Do not even indicate which set of instructions you might be referring to. Let the average US Citizen think that you mean some unknown page of the US Individual Income Tax Instruction Book. They will, of course, be wrong, but it is crucial that you keep them in the dark. In reality, you can be referring to any instruction manual--the instruction manual for your microwave oven, the directions for the toy you just bought your infant son, that little pamphlet that comes with tampons. Whatever. It doesn't matter; the goal is confusion. Look toward the goal.

b) Something like this: "If the amount on this line is less than the amount on line 456.6b, divide both numbers by the square root of your age as of July 19, 1984, and enter that amount here. If the amount on this line is greater than the amount on line 3446.75d, take this form and hold it up in front of a mirror. Write down the backwards versions of all of the numbers you can see in the mirror on a small sheet of yellow paper. Wait until the next lunar eclipse. Then eat the yellow paper, counting the number of times you have to chew the paper in order to swallow it. Enter that number here."

c) Something like: "(Refer to Form HDTV-STD-53, tables I, III, or XIIIIIIIV. Also refer to a copy of your older sibling's Form EZ-1040. Notice how much more money he/she makes than you. Feel badly. Finally, refer to page 163 of any novel on the lowest shelf of your bookcase.)"

I hope all of you non-US Citizens can now be a bit more understanding about America's plan to take over the world. We're just grumpy and confused about our taxes.

2. I feel it is important to add here that the amount of money I made this year is so small that it's actually ha-ha funny.

3. A small man knocked on my (new) office door Wednesday morning and RETURNED THREE LARGE BAGS OF GARBAGE. To me. Apparently, he was dissatisfied with the garbage we had thrown out, and was confusing me with The Garbage Return Center. As in, "M'am, I bought these three large bags of garbage earlier this week, and, I'm sorry, but they're just not smelly enough. I had wanted real smelly, egg shells and cheese-rinds garbage. These are mostly just sesame Thai noodles and soda-drenched newspaper. They won't do."

Apparently, he was unhappy because the people who have been working at this office for months and months and months and months. And months. Those people, have not been recycling. And so, as a result, this disgruntled man had reached his non-separated garbage limit and, had come to demand that someone PICK THROUGH THESE THREE SMELLY BAGS OF GARBAGE and separate out the recyclables.

Guess who got to do it? Guess. I dare you.

I love being The New Girl.

4. But, just when I was feeling like a toothless, grimy patched-jacket-wearing HOBO, and was ready to pick up my bandana-tied-to-a-stick napsack and point my floppy shoes West, my friend called and invited me to his law school's formal.

And with every piece of garbage I picked, I spoke the following mantra: Tonight. I. Will. Once. Again. Feel. Pretty.

5. At this formal I was having a fine time meeting lawyers, and future lawyers and the lawyers of the lawyers of lawyers past. And their girlfriends.

Most of these girlfriends are from out of town, and so I am playing a fun game, in which I compare the girlfriends to the girls their boyfriends fuck on the weekends when the girlfriends are NOT in town. (May I add that the girlfriends win hands down. Hands. Down.)

So we're all karaoke-ing and having our portraits drawn and all of the other things that you do at these dances, which are kind of like carnivals for grown-ups. With lots of alchohol. And, late into the evening, lots of wine-spills and vomit. Not classy, but kind of fun.

And just when talking about law is getting kind of old, and watching law students stumble around and throw-up has lost its charm, I walk past a table, and see that...

...out of all the people at this huge event that I could've known...

...the person I know.... the woman dressed up as a crazy gypsy giving Tarot card readings.

She's in my acting class.

I am thrilled to see her. She gives me two extra-long readings and we talk for an hour, pissing off all of the drunken law school students in line, which causes us no small amount of joy. Because by that time, I'm sick of being lawyerly and having conversations about summer internships that I pretend are interesting.

By that time, I'm ready to hang with the gypsies.