Thu, 03 Mar 2005

I have to admit that The Man has been pretty easy on me these last few years. I’ve managed to get away with a heck of a lot of soft living on the government’s dime: several ill-planned road trips, a couple rock operas, and a lot of emails sent from my cubicle when I should’ve been filling out my supervisor’s travel claim forms. The fact that I have barely any accomplishments to show for these years of sloth I cannot, try as I might, blame on The Man. He doesn’t make me stay up all night enjoying Carole Lombard library movie-thons. Nor can The Man be blamed for my current status of deepening poverty. He didn’t ask me to spend my savings on recording time. The fact is, The Man has been extremely lenient. I can only be grateful to him.

Lately, however, The Man has been signalling that he grows impatient with my ways. First there was that letter from the Employment Insurance people, ordering me to report for a “group information session” on March 10, to learn about my “rights and responsibilities” as an EI recipient. Sure, it sounds innocuous, but I know this session is really just an excuse for The Man to get all us slackers together in one room and chew us out for our slacking. To this end, The Man has asked me to bring along a list of all the jobs I’ve been applying to over the last six months. This list, as you all could probably guess, is shockingly brief. Reckoning liberally, I can maybe stretch the list to one entry. A conservative estimate would be slightly lower.

“It is very important for you to come to this session,” says the letter. “If you do not, your benefits could be stopped or refused.” So skipping it isn’t an option. I’m hoping that when I show up with my blank piece of paper and an innocent expression, I will escape official sanction, and that The Man will restrict himself to mere verbal abuse.

Another karmic thunderbolt struck me Monday night around 3 AM as Andrew and I drove home from our recording session. I was pulling out of the 7-11 on 8th and Clarence, where Andrew had just picked up a life-restoring Slurpee. Too impatient to wait for a left turn at the Clarence Avenue light, I pulled instead onto 8th Street and did a U-turn around the median to head east. I drove along feeling very pleased with myself for having shaved fifteen seconds off our journey, until a cop dropped out of the sky, lights flashing, and presented me with a $115 ticket. Which might not sound too steep, until you calculate that $115 represents 68% of my current net worth.

The ticket stung me. But it’s the first one I ever got, and considering the number of times I’ve gotten away with far worse transgressions, I can’t really blame The Man for finally putting his foot down. Jenn says I might be able to get the ticket reduced to a few hours of community service, and save the $115 for future slacking. But I’ll still get the points on my license. Which is alright, I guess, cos I don’t really know what the points mean. I’d prefer if no-one told me.

The Rule of Threes says that The Man has one more nasty surprise in store for me. As a result, I’ve been postponing my tax return.


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