GAL FRIDAY: Tax time a major headache
IT WAS one extreme to the next. Sweltering heat, blistering cold. Provocative perfume, stinking smells. Has this been your experience in attempting to pay taxes? The last time I had such a paradoxical immersion, I was in deep slumber, dreaming madness after becoming victim to Laura Galt’s fermented spirits at Lucky Horseshoe in 2005. But this was real life. Standing became more tiring than walking. Silence deafened you, except for the cry of a cellphone or the random baby-bawl.
This tax thing is never easy; I guess this is why the inevitable comparison to taxation is death. But I’ve had a few near-death experiences and they were actually less horrendous than this past week. Age three: cat gouged my left eye. High school: I tried to dry my wet uniform with a Bunsen burner in the chemistry lab, but set myself ablaze. At UWI: I saw a bicycle resting in the bush. Decided to take a ride, intending to return it, but never got back. No brakes. Went cat-spraddling down University Hill. And then a few weeks ago: crazed lady pelts me with a bottle of baby oil; expletives accompanying, chasing me into a nearby store, while accusing me of “tiefing garlic all d blasted time.”?!?
Horrific? No way.
Here’s the experience that truly takes the cake: With road tax due, I trekked to Holetown on Monday. If you’ve ever been to the BRA office in Holetown, you’d know the room is not the biggest. The queue extended to the parking lot. I braved the sun…and a few brief showers. While in line and online (I thought it good to respond to some emails while waiting) I was sandwiched between two men. This was no Lowdown/Lew sandwich. This was more like a spoiling egg/cheese sandwich; soggy and sour. Apparently, the man behind mistook the queue for a Kadooment band. I could feel (and smell) his halitosistic breath on my neck. Guy in front? Hygienically handicapped as well. Fifteen minutes was all I could take.
I left. Decided to try my luck at Oistins. Well, to say the Oistins office was empty would be akin to accusing our Prime Minister of garrulousness. People like peas. Neither standing nor sitting room. I joined the line, with little choice. I was wet. Lady in front had a fan and was generous enough to let me use it. Then I heard her say: “If you got a chequing account, you could mail the payment.”
Check my luck: I am still awaiting a formal response from my friends at Republic, with regard to several errors, causing bouncing on my account. So I was kinda frightened. But, after an hour, it was either fright or flight. I chose the latter. I sped to the nearest post office. After registering the mail and making the payment, the post office clerk asks “Why you didn’ use the drop box at BRA, doah?”
I checked my post box this morning. Guess what? My land tax bill is now due!
Veoma Ali is an author, broadcaster, advertising exec and, most important, a karaoke lover.