Here are some photos from a recent jaunt in a nearby park.
I’m kind of experiencing a melancholy day here. I have lots to get done but nothing seems to be going right. It has become abundantly clear that I by no means have the equipment needed to do the things I need to do, nor do I have enough time or helping hands. Cassie has been nice enough to lend me some of her skillz in the soap labeling and wrapping department (she’s revolutionized my process!) but I still haven’t made a dent in what needs to be done before May. After next week I will no longer be working at Bank of America so hopefully that will give me the time I need. I’m feeling a great amount of sorrow about the closing of BOA’s tax processing center here in Kingston. This is my third tax season working for them and I really enjoyed my time spent there. It’s a no nonsense, worry-free, drama-free job. I literally clock in, enter data while listening to my mp3 player, take a few breaks to eat and read my book, and go home. I can call in or show up late whenever I need. It’s understood that if I’m not there, I don’t get paid. That’s simple enough for me. I rarely speak with anyone but when I do, I’m speaking with a unique character (more about them in another post). The only drawback is that time goes by very slowly. In fact, some days I’m certain that time has completely died and is beginning the process of rigor mortis, but I press on in the hopes that it hasn’t.
What keeps me coming back year after year is the tax records. In a nutshell, I’m basically there to decipher the scribbled numbers and appallingly bad handwriting of New York State residents but to me it’s so much more than that. I get a glimpse into the lives of the people who share my home state. I know where they work, what they earn, where they live (don’t worry, security is tight, so there is no stealing your data for stalking or stealing purposes). I know if they’ve moved or recently gotten married. And sadly, I know when they or their spouse has died in the past year. And I get angry when I see people who were born in the 1910s and 1920s still having to submit tax returns. Not only because their handwriting is now very shaky and a pain for me to read, but also because that old adage about nothing being certain in life besides death and taxes is so terribly true. Sad and true.
I’m fascinated by people’s handwriting and their submission styles; It’s very revealing. Sometimes you get those people that just don’t care so they will illegibly scribble all over the paper. One time I opened a tax return from someone that literally crumpled it up and stomped all over it. His boot prints made it challenging to read his return but I did the best with what he gave me (I’m sorry if you didn’t get the refund you were looking for mister. It would help if I could read the darn thing instead of just guessing.). Just yesterday I got the tax return that I’ve been waiting for for so long. Written in large print was something to the effect of “exempt from taxes under the United States/Canada treaty of ….” and that was it. The balls! I love it. The perfectionists (like me) use computers to type up their returns. These are like butter to read and are thus my favorite but too many of these will literally put me to sleep. The old-schoolers dust off their typewriters. Yup, I’ve seen several returns done on old typewriters this season. It adds a nice vintage touch but it’s actually hard to read at times because the placement of the page can certainly get away from people. In some cases it looks like the page just ran away from the typewriter and did o n e of t h e e s e.
Today we got several returns from people that obviously had a lot of time on their hands. An alarming amount of time, in fact. One person hand-wrote about fifty 0’s on each and every line. So it looked something like this
That was handwritten mind you–on each and every possible line. Even the lines where there was no number needed. So that’s probably 80 or so lines like that. Meticulous, I say. I also had one that did the same thing with n/a. N/A literally threw up all over that tax return. I wonder what it’s like to talk to that person? It might be like the yadda yadda yadda Seinfeld episode where they leave out pertinent information and just n/a it instead. Another person put an X through every box imaginable. If there was a box looking for your state abbreviation, there would be an X there instead. If there was a yes box and a no box, you could count on there being an X in both. This person is obviously indecisive and can’t make up there mind about anything.
So that’s a little glimpse into where your taxes go when you send them off into outer space. They actually go to some cretin like me who does their best to figure out what they heck you meant when you sent in that tax check reading “sex dollars and 15 scents.” We know you meant six dollars and 15 cents. We aren’t judging.