My seasonal job is preparing taxes. I hear a lot of things and I keep it confidential. But, there are times when I look at a client and think, what if… The following is a fictional account of a tax interview.
Ms. Renee Dupuis in the chair opposite me to have her taxes done. The person who has done her taxes before was not available so she had to take someone new to her. The preparer was experienced but, Ms. Dupuis wanted to make sure and asked her some questions. Finally satisfied, the preparer was allowed to start the return.
As usual, the talk was more than just taxes. Ms. Dupuis was born in France and preparer was planning on a trip to France. They talked a little about the Musée D’ Orsay and all the great impressionist art in the museum. They compared the cathedral at Chartres to the Notre Dame and agreed that the hand carving at Chartres deserves more attention then it gets. Ms. Dupuis mentioned that four Catholic churches in her area were closing. Her church was closing and at 73 she did not want to make a change to a new church. She decided to attend one of the churches that was not one that was designated.
She began talking about a family reunion she had missed in Paris a few years ago. One of her teenage ‘crushes’ said he had missed seeing her at the reunion in an email brimming with passion.
She had missed the reunion due to a surgery and when she recovered, she visited him in France where they had a torrid, passionate affair. The preparer kept typing tax information into the computer and occasionally asked a question. Although the question were about taxes, Ms. Dupuis answered the questions and continued with her story. Her friend had visited Detroit where the affair continued with the same enthusiasm. Unfortunately, he was married.
The preparer sneaked a glance at Ms. Dupuis. She had a smile on her face as she recounted the events. After he we not back to France, she went to confession and promised not to do it again. And she didn’t with him. She began to tell the preparer about the wonderful gentleman friend in her apartment complex.
Each year I work a seasonal job and right now is the season. Yesterday I helped one of my coworkers and he bought me lunch. We have a restaurant in the strip mall where I work called Crispelli’s. He asked me what I wanted and I said the BLT.
The sandwiches from this place last for two meals. The BLT is my favorite BLT of all time. It has at least 5 slices of thick sliced applewood smoked bacon. Even at this time of year, the tomatoes taste like summer tomatoes. They have the rich tomato taste without any mealiness. The lettuce is crisp Romaine lettuce which adds a whisper of a bitter bite. They make their own bread and the taste and texture is a major addition to the sandwich as a whole. They also make their own chips. The chips are warm when they are added to the bag. Each element of the lunch complements the rest.
The picture is what was left after lunch. Guess what I had for dinner last night?
Wednesday may have been one of the worst work days I have ever had. Luckily, I started more relaxed than usual since I had just returned from a long holiday weekend at my son’s house. I had thought I would not ever write about work but Wednesday changed my mind.
I got to work about fifteen minutes before starting work. As I let myself in, I called out and nobody answered. I was working with two others and there was also someone in to handle the phones. I got things set up. I tried to unlock one of the drawers with files and the keys were not in the usual place. A couple of people were outside the door and I am not supposed to let anyone in until there are at least two employees. With opening scheduled in five minutes, there was still nobody except me. I checked the computer to see who was scheduled. By opening, there was a line of six at the doors. I decided to let them in since with that number, I was not concerned with being robbed. The phones be gam to ring. At one point about five minutes after opening, I was trying to check in six clients and handle three phone calls. A person who was not scheduled walked in and saw the mess I was in. She began to handle the calls while I was checking in clients who were not happy. I was really angry. I was also trying to not show it to the clients.
About fifteen minutes after starting time, the others began to show up. One walked in talking on her cell phone. It was clear she did not seem to think there was something amiss by being fifteen minutes late. Within five minutes, all the missing had checked in.
I must say I feel apart at the onslaught. The phone calls were not handled well. I didn’t greet the client well. The only thing that went well was that I got over it and to work fast.
The other day at work I told my coworkers I was stepping out of the office to get a Subway Sandwich. Our office is in a local mall and the food court is right outside the door. We don’t get a lunch break on some days since we work short hours.
As I walked across the eating area to the subway shop, I saw that the line was a little longer than usual. I didn’t want to be gone for more than a few minutes and still thought it would be fine.
I have always had issues with lines. In grocery stores, I seem to pick the wrong one. Well, not really wrong, but the one that moves the slowest. I look for the line with the fewest SUVs when I get gas at Costco where there are always lines. These lines no longer bother me as much since I am usually alone and know that it all evens out over time.
The line at the Subway had four people and I thought I would be able to get back to works after just a few minutes. The first one went right through. When the second one began to place her order several people appeared who had been sitting. It was a family affair. One person was placing an order for four different sandwiches and it took almost the same time as four people. The next customer had four year old twins with her. At each selection, she asked the twins what they wanted. The kids selected the bread, the filing and the cheese. She went through each vegetable or add- on one by one and queried the twins. Lettuce, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, olives, pickles, banana peppers, onions, cucumbers and jalepeño peppers were the choices. And then they chose the dressing. I was frustrated. There were a couple of people behind me at that point and many eyes were rolling in exasperation.
So, it may not be lines that are so frustrating but the completely unexpected chance change from ordinary to extraordinary that in some cases is frustratiing.
On the way that I drive most often to Detroit, this guy is a fixture at the entrance to or from the freeway. He has been on the corner for at least six years. Some of the others asking for money just sit in a chair or stand with a sign.
This guy is moving all the time while the cars are waiting for the lights to change. He bows to his audience. He holds up the sign and moves it all around. He holds the sign in one hand and tries to catch the eye of each motorist.
I have seen him at the beginning of my drive and when coming back. He works hard at it. I have also caught him stamping his feet in anger in the rear view mirror when he doesn’t get anything.
I have wondered how much does he get per day? Who does he go home to?
I started with a checkup at the doctors office. I have tendinitis in my shoulder that has been hanging of for 8 months without getting better. So, I’m off to see an orthopedic surgeon. I also got a shot of Cortizone and hopefully it will make it feel a little better in the meantime.
I had time to do a little studying before heading off for work. Each year my job requires that I take a few classes. I’m also studying for a certification that is much harder to get but will be really a good certification to have.
And finally off to work Which did not go well today. Summer is problem-solving time. And each year the problem changes. I’m seeing stuff I haven’t seen before. I can say it doesn’t get boring. At least, all the clients left happy so my mental status did not have much to do with how the client felt about the service.
Tonight I really felt like I wanted to go out for music and I did. I went down to Northern lights Lounge even though I knew Mike Jellick would not be playing there this evening. His replacement is Michael Malis is really good and I enjoy hearing him play.
Left to right: Mike Malis(keys), Miles Brown(bass) and Stephan Boeghold (dms)
I enjoyed the music. But, I was tired and only stayed for one set. I had even planned to go somewhere else after Northern Lights but decided home was a better choice since I was so tired.
My shoulder was really bothering me when I started typing this and is improving fast. Cortizone actually may give me a break.
I am a procrastinator. Sometimes I put things off until the last minute. I meet deadlines. I am on time when I go places. But, the things I do not want to do stay there waiting for me to do them when it is something I must do.
At work the other day, I met another procrastinator. I could not believe that someone would wait for three years after the fact to find out where something had gone wrong. All of the systems on the Internet where I look for information are geared to this year. Looking in the past is a phone call. We were on hold for over a hour. After a five minute chat with a harried angry person at the call center, we got a partial explanation and another number. After a very short wait time on the second call, we got another number and knew what had happened.
The client told me the problem has been happening since 2008 and the reason we were working on 2011 was that it was the only copy of work he could find. The precipitating factor was a demand for payment from 2011. All the time I was talking to the client, I was thinking how could someone put things off for so long. I asked if he had tried to resolve the problem. He replied that he had tried it once.
I could not believe it until I thought about some of the things I have on the back burner. Some are really quite old. I was looking at another version of myself.