Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Parade of Procrastinators

My name is Okie Book Woman, and I am a procrastinator. I’ve read self-help books, seen the ugly results of procrastination, and beaten myself mercilessly, but I’m still a procrastinator.

Everyone knows that April 15th is the day taxes are due. And everyone who has ever procrastinated on tax preparation has said, “Next year, I’m taking care of this as soon as I get my W-2 form.”

I actually finished my part of the tax preparation a week ago, which is progress on my part, but of course I was too late to get the information to my CPA in time for him to file by the 15th. (In the good old days, when we made so little money that a third grader could fill out the forms, I did my own taxes, usually on April 15th. Now that we’ve inherited oil and gas revenues and invested a bit in the stock market, we’re solidly middle class and I have to pay someone to lead me through the maze.) My taxman said he’d file an extension for me, but since I know we’ll owe more taxes, I decided I should send in some money so that I wouldn’t owe so much interest later. I made that decision a week or so ago, but did I act on it? Of course not. I waited until it became a crisis. (Well, you know. I’ve been busy.)

So last night, about ten o’clock, we headed off to the 24/7 post office to mail a check to our friends at the IRS. We were probably a mile away when we realized I’m not the only procrastinator in town. Traffic had stopped. Everyone and his dog seemed to be headed for the post office.

Fortunately, Dr. Lobo is spatially oriented. He can tell you where just about anything is located in relation to anything else. Our 24/7 post office is close to our airport. So Dr. Lobo got drove into the airport to a point where I could see the post office. He let me out, and I walked across a couple of streets and through a parking lot until I reached my destination.

When I came closer, I could see the problem. First off, Channel 5 was filming all the procrastinators (like we need to be publically shamed). Secondly, no cheerful postal employee stood outside so that people who only needed a postmark could drive by and drop off their mail. (In the good old days when everyone believed in providing services, that’s exactly what the post office did, and it was almost fun to be part of that annual event. I know, because I was usually a participant.)

People had to park and walk inside to mail their taxes. The 24/7 post office has a rather small parking lot. Drivers were forced to wait in their cars until a parking space was available.

I walked inside and discovered a parade of procrastinators in a twisting line. Rather than get in line, I decided to trust a fellow procrastinator. I found a woman who looked honest and asked if she would see to it that my envelope was postmarked, and she readily agreed.

I walked back through the parking lot, even though I saw signs forbidding pedestrians. (I’m not only a procrastinator; I’m a lawbreaker.) Only a minute after I got back to the place where Dr. Lobo had let me out of the car, he drove up, I got in, and we were on our way.

It felt great to beat the system. Now I just hope the woman who looked honest really did mail my check.

Yes, I am a procrastinator. But I’ll cure my problem someday. Just you wait.


Carol said...

Oh dear. It's all so familiar. Here in Baton Rouge, there is no late-night post office. They said in the newspaper that you had to get your envelopes to the main post office by 6!

I have a friend who said he was at one of those we'll-do-your-taxes-for-you places at 11 or so because he'd planned on just doing it online but had forgotten some pin.

drlobojo said...

OKBW said: "....we’re solidly middle class ...."
No Dear, we don't quite meet the statistcal criteria for the MC.
But if you want to believe that go right ahead, 70% of America believes they are all in the 'middle class' which is now about 21% of the the Nation.

drlobojo said...

Dang, I was going to add to my comments yesterday but waited and now I can't remember what was so important to say.