Snakes and ladders

I had another test on Tuesday and used it as an excuse to take the day off. The plan was to be up early and getting the test done not long after nine. I woke at the usual time I would if I was going to work, but as I wasn’t going to work all I did was get up to feed Rigby. I couldn’t even have coffee since this was a fasting test.

I went back to bed with Rigby joining me. I didn’t read as I might normally but chose to catch up on my sleep. I was weary, I hadn’t slept well, just as I haven’t for a few weeks now. It turned out I slept for over two hours. The body takes what the body needs, and the body needed this. I don’t know if I could have slept as long if it was the weekend, but it’s different on a weekday. On the weekend you have things to do and the whole world outside is home as well as you. On a weekday if you’re sleeping in, you’ve already opted out of your commitments, and in the meantime, the world about you has evacuated to keep to their obligations. It’s a different mindset. You’re in a cosy cocoon. You have a leave pass from daily life, and the body relaxes into restful sleep.

That’s how it was for me. Rigby slept on the bed beside me or else curled up in the curve of my body. When I woke, I could have closed my eyes for another snooze, but it was getting on for ten by now.

I walked down the road to get my test, this time for liver function. I fully expect the results for this will be negative, just as it was for glucose/diabetes. I’ve got to tick that box, however. Afterwards, I walked down the road where I had a coffee and a slice to break my fast. I deserved it.

The rest of the day was a whole lot of nothing, a bit of this and that, though pleasant enough. I managed to change my ISP – doubling my speed for just an extra $6 monthly. That was great until I found out the router I had – and now owned – had been locked by the old ISP, which meant I had to go out and buy a new one. I walked Rigby, I did some cooking, I wrote a paragraph, and generally I felt poorly.

I’ve had a couple of health niggles lately, as most had, and not nearly bad as many. I didn’t feel a hundred per cent and, despite the extra sleep, felt weary still. The weariness may well be a symptom of my state of mind, which has sharply declined in recent weeks. I’ve gone into that. What it boils down to is that there’s nothing in the centre of my life where there should be something warm and safe. Then, late in the day, I got an email that slammed me hard.

It was from the ATO. For background, I incurred a substantial tax debt about seven years ago, around the time all the shit was going down in my life. The shit continued for another few years, but that was near the start of it. Somebody from the ATO suggested I could appeal the debt on the grounds of hardship – I’d been ripped off a hundred grand, I was unemployed and without fixed abode, had sold off my assets to survive, on top of which my mum had not long died, and half the family was threatening legal action. So, I appealed, and that dragged out for maybe three years and included an appearance at VCAT as the ATO resisted. In the end, they conceded a little. I’d dug in my heels, not that I had much choice. As I told them, they may as well bill me for a million dollars as for the amount I owed (initially $31K, now near $50k with interest), as I was just as likely to pay that.

For the last 3-4 years, they’d let me alone, but there was always the possibility – as they had told me – of them returning to haunt me once I got on my feet. I submitted my tax return a few weeks ago, and the calculation showed that I would get a return of just over a grand, consistent with the government tax cut. I figure that amount – $1K – triggered a response. The email told me that my tax return was delayed because they were investigating my tax debt – the inference being, at the least, that they may claim my return and apply it against the debt. The worst-case scenario is that they take the opportunity to reactivate their claim against me and set in motion garnishing my wages.

When you’re in the state of mind, I was anything vaguely negative hits you hard. You break a glass by accident, and it sets you off. This was more than broken glass, and my first reaction was to wonder: what’s the point? I felt as if no matter what I do, there was always something to drag me back. I’ve strived to get ahead, to drag myself out of the hole I was in; I’ve fought with every ounce of strength until I ached with it, and my mind was weary with the struggle. Finally, I had managed lift myself to the next level, somewhere I could breathe a little easier – and then, on cue, just a week or so later, the ATO come calling. It’s like a game of snakes and ladders.

I’ll manage. I always do. Lot of it these days is playing a role, some of it instinct, and a fair bit of it mere habit. I don’t inhabit myself right now as I did before, but I know the tropes, I know the lines, I can pretend, and I can force myself forwards. It now appears I may need to fight again. I’m over fighting, but the alternative is not an option.

Right now I’m in a better space I was on Tuesday, but still a long way short of my best. It’s Friday, I’ve had my crumpet, it’s the last day in this job, and on Monday I begin in my new role. As they say, I’ll be taking it one week at a time from here.

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