Thursday, August 5, 2010

(1) World, Meet Meaghan. Meaghan, Meet World. Now Give Us All Your Money!

Some days it's nearly impossible to convince myself that everything will, in fact, be alright. You see, I always imagined that I was this upstanding citizen, but it's recently come to my attention that I've never actually been a citizen of anyplace, aside form my own head (which apparently doesn't count for anything). Well crap. Double crap since I've had this revelation after dragging my boyfriend, our cat, and our stuff (oh, the amount of stuff we fussed over) across Canada and into unfamiliar territory. I've been out of university for about 7 months now, and while 7 months is a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, the changes I've forced on myself are nothing short of major. But despite the several crises my boyfriend and I have suffered through these past 7 months, somehow relatively little actually has changed (postal code and furniture aside).

Before I even survived to see the end of my university career, I really should have known that I had literally no place in the general public. My entire history serves as proof that I've forever lived in some weird alternative reality. Actually, the fact that I was in university is, in itself, a dead give away. History aside, the catalyst for this, my newest crisis, was the fiasco that was filing my tax return. I tried to do it back in April, before the big move from Ontario to BC (we'll get to THAT later), only to be chided for having never filed for taxes before. The woman at H&R Block could hardly understand English, let alone understand why a 24 year old has never filed for taxes before. But after 20-odd years of having everything done for me, taxes were just something I assumed my Dad took care of every spring. In hindsight, the fact that I still possessed nearly every T4 of my retail sales associate career should have told me something. Although, in my own defense, he did always do my American taxes so I wasn't totally off. I have no clue how these cross-border things work. All I know is that I'm a Green Card carrier from Canada, and based on MY border crossing experiences, I'd hate to be an Arab with a Green Card- but I digress.
So this Polish woman is clearly frazzled, and so she tells me to come back after tax season, since I don't actually owe the government anything. I told her that I EXPLAINED the situation over the phone when I made the appointment, and that we're moving so we really NEED this money. I'd like to say that my teary-eyed, white-knuckled desperation was a devious tactic to get her to do her job, but I really was feeling super desperate. Tactic or not, it didn't work; she just agreed to make another appointment for me with an employee who actually knew what they were doing.

Replay this scene two more times with two different incompetent employees and then ignore me crying in the parking lot, because I'm supposed to be 24, not 6, and then skip two months ahead to a post-tax season office in Vancouver. This Vancouver woman did all of my taxes in under 45 minutes, but this time I ended up crying right there in the office, because I'm broke and don't have roughly $200 to pay her for doing 6 years of taxes for me. She agreed to process this past year, and told me she'd hold onto the rest of my forms until I can afford to process the rest. I really have no clue when that will be.

So my first foray into ACTUALLY being an upstanding citizen was a disaster, and while I don't regret moving (not in the least!), moving made my boyfriend and me nearly broke, and being broke is something I've never really experienced. Sure, as a student I opted to eat $1.00 instant "ramen" for days on end so I could buy beer, but since my parents paid for my rent, tuition, bought my books, clothes, shoes, purses, flights from our Florida home to school in Ontario (and back again for holidays!), took me to Japan (twice) and generally spoiled me rotten, somehow the ramen eating days just don't count.

So here I am, supposedly an adult who has the tools to make it on my own, and I have no money and no discernible skills since I chose to study English and not business. Fuck. I fled London, Ontario and the University of Western Ontario adamant that I would move to Vancouver, attend Simon Fraser University and become an editor (a successful one even!), but here I am not completing the introductory editing course and barely hanging on to a crappy job in retail.

I suppose moving was a good thing.

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