Monday, February 1, 2010

Tax Man Cometh

It's 2:30 in the afternoon here and I'm just coming up from air from doing my taxes. I've done them myself for the last few years as I've little to interfere with a standard filing. I admit I actually like doing them. I've a sufficient grasp of what I'm doing to only mildly freak out when something doesn't come up right. I still do them first on paper, in pencil, natch, so I have a hard copy while I slog through the online efile process. Inevitably, my numbers don't add up and I have to go back and see where I went wrong. When I first started doing my own taxes, this checks and balances role was performed by my father. He'd carefully check my math and chuckle at my insistence in including every cent in the calculations. The first time he rounded a figure up, I nearly had palpitations, visions of audits dancing wildly in my head. I'm much more sanguine about it all now or at least am comfortable in my small chicken role to be reassured that neither I nor my missing cents are worth the trouble.

Simply put, I get a great satisfaction from the accomplishment. It's a small thing, but it's a bureaucratic portion of my life that I'm proud to have some mastery over. It's really just a puzzle when you get down to it and I like deconstructing puzzles and reasoning out solutions. When it involves math, though, I'm more than a little intimidated. My creative mind doesn't easily bend itself to numeric world. So even though tax prep on my level is mostly insert number A into box B, I still get a thrill from being able to do it myself and resolve whatever minor complications emerge. Some days, that's enough of a boost to brighten my day.

Nature gave that boost an assist this morning. I went out as usual to warm up my car. It's bloody cold in The Garden State these days and my CR-V needs a little loving before we strike out together for the great unknown of pharmaceutical editing. As I walked out the door, a cavalcade of sparrows launched into the air; a flurry of brown against the crisp blue sky. A few of the birds momentarily scooted around the asphalt in avian confusion, Charlie Chapman in brown tweed. As some pattered in my direction, I called out, "Hello there," and then, "Shall I burst into song?" the Disney-esque feel of the moment not lost on me. But I'm not remotely in line with the princess ethos, save for the inclination to randomly burst into song, and the sparrows elected not to join in electing to flee to the back yard feeder instead.

As usual, I simply amused myself.

I love that fresh quiet in the mornings. I'm not, by nature, a morning person, but I so enjoy the sharp newness of it, especially a fierce winter morning like today when the air cuts through me like brain freeze until the short-lived winter sun cranks up my internal heater. These moments were virtually nonexistent when I lived in Weehawken, the urban pangs of the day rousing way before me and often waking me altogether. Now that I'm back living in suburbia, I treasure these moments, sometimes the only peace of mind to enter my day, the still, quiet voice of silence echoing deep within me.

Nothing Disney about it.

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