by Ben Small
Maybe it's just me, but life seems more aggravating these days. I've been working on a book, really hot with langua-lava, you know... flow. In other words: I been puttin' words on da page.
So why don't I see more pages on my floor?
Well, because the I.R.S. was through with my documents, satisfied with several years returns -- what joyful fun they are to play with -- and was ready to return them. [Yes, a play on words.] Knowing that I had boxes full of my documents in their hands, aware that their employer was desperate for my moola, I wanted those puppies out of their hands at first light.
But at first light, I probably wouldn't have found the I.R.S. office. It's tucked into a plaza, parking difficult and a hike, a plaza that offers no maps or signs. Just buildings all around, nary a direction or address to be found.
So, after asking directions from passersby and making some mistakes, I finally made it to the door behind which I would find my trusty Treasury Examiner and the documents she'd been munching. I opened the door and stepped inside. Found a closed room and a metal detector. An unsmiling Marshall behind a plastic barrier with a slide-out tray. I emptied my pockets.
Damn, forgot about that little plastic pocket-knife. I tossed it into the tray. I pointed to it, said, "How about this? It's little."
The Marshall didn't see the humor. No, he didn't pull on me. Instead, I got the lecture, all the statutes and regulations, the wagging finger.
And I deserved it. Anybody dumb enough to not check and double check their pockets before visiting the federal government, needs a guardian. Duh.
Well, will he hold it for me? It's little...
I got the lecture.
Well, could I dump it outside?
I got the lecture, with an addendum this time. If I disposed of the weapon outside, I must do so beyond the sidewalk. I couldn't just throw O.J. it in the nearest trash bin.
The sidewalk, a quarter mile away. And me with bad feet.
So I re-stuffed my pockets and was off. I'm surprised I wasn't followed.
I walked past the sidewalk and deposited my little plastic pocket-knife in a tree well on the other side of the street from the plaza.
Yes, I retrieved both the pocket-knife and my documents. But the adventure cost me most of the day.
On the way home, I decided on a celebratory treat: a chai lattee tea from my local cafe, a spot known for its pizza pannettis also. As I held the door open for a few elderly women, I saw the line formed behind them. It seemed endless. And these blue-hairs knew each other.. They were gabbing and making a fuss. Well, before I could slip inside, the line once empty had blossomed almost to the door. Once inside, I heard those fateful words: "Separate checks!"
How did I ever get anything done at work?