It happens every year. The large brown envelope drops through the letterbox, and I realise, with horror coursing through every fibre of my being, that it is that time of year. Time to do my taxes!
Actually, I don’t do my own taxes. A couple of bad experiences due to some faceless pen-pusher deciding that a particular box wasn’t quite correctly filled in, means that I now take my tax form, together with all the papers that go with it, to the tax office and have them fill it in for me. And it is precisely this that fills me with horror.
You see, I am not the only one to have the idea of having those lovely folk at the tax office fill in the form. I found this out the first year I went and was waiting just over two hours to be seen. This year was no exception.
Today, I steeled myself and decided that I would get to the tax office early. I knew it opened at 9 a.m and so clever old me got there at 8:45 a.m…only to find that there was already 52 people in front of me! Oh well, I thought to myself, I might as well make myself comfortable seeing as how I’m in for a long, tedious, boring wait.
To my surprise, however, today proved to be one of the most entertaining times I suppose I could ever have in a tax office. I’m a people watcher (I think a lot of writers are) and so, after taking a seat in the corner, I began to survey my income tax cohorts.
First off came the lookalikes! (I’m surmising that very few of my non-British blogging buddies will know who I’m talking about, so I’ve added links for reference) I found myself sitting across the room from Bobby Davro and Sir Ian McKellen…and then Big Daddy walked in! I was forced to stifle a giggle behind my large brown envelope as I stopped myself from pointing and shouting “Shirley Crabtree!” I was having such a good time lookalike hunting, that I barely noticed that 20 people had already been called through to the help desks. Only another 32 to go.
Then three women then came in. Two sat on my left while the third woman sat across from them. They were talking about food as they sat down, and I guess it was their favourite subject as they engaged in a non-stop conversation about food, eating, restaurants and food. It was torture, especially so since I hadn’t had time for breakfast. One of them described a double bacon cheeseburger so vividly I could almost taste it. Honestly! It was all I could do not to drool on her! Fortunately, I was called through to be seen just as a three-way debate on the varying merits of chips versus croquettes began.
So, to conclude. I got my taxes done in well under three hours, saw several lookalikes, almost drooled on a stranger and am now assuming my role as blogger with a large cup of coffee and an even larger frangipane tart. Not too shabby for a Tuesday!