I’m compliant. I believe in the fairytale of democracy. The fairyland of happy little citizens skipping off to the polling booth to vote for the knights who will change our world. Enough.
As a busy mother of future happy citizens who will continue to proffer this democracy, I go online to pay a tax. Click to pay. Done. Thank you for your payment. And again. Huh? Pay again. But there are arrears. Huh? There had been a waiver to be paid locally but now it needs paying by you. So I haven’t actually paid for what I came online to pay. Speed dial the real person who gives me a list of options. Dial three to speak to someone who has a) the training b) the bad sense and c) the condescension to call me Madam. But I’ve paid. Not the arrears. What arrears? The arrears. But I’ve paid. You’ve paid what seems half the arrears of the charges but not the actual tax Madam. The name’s Anne. And your name again? Would you like to pay? Which one? The half arrears, the waive-red arrears, the tax for one half or the tax for the other half before I go off and pay for every other bill in my inbox? Are you the authorized card holder Madam? It’s not your fault. I’ve been at your end of the phone and I know you got up and fed your children, put on your lipstick and went to work. Payment type? None preferably. It’s not her fault. She’ll put down the headset and walk to her nearest comfort of choice at breaktime. Chocolate, cigarette, phone call home, coffee and she’ll forget about the Madam who rang from a farmhouse in Kerry who was just not getting the exhorbitant taxes she was democratically obliged to pay.
Compliant I would have thought myself. Until now. I put down the phone and contemplate rebellion. The good girl turned rogue on the streets of the capital, refusing to pay. I will most likely pay, out of frustration, fear, compliance, destined to become the wise old hippy owl who will smile knowingly at adult sons frustrated with the system of taxes. Sons who are reared on utopian ideals by idealists who refuse to believe that Machiavelli didn’t have had a heart. Brought up to believe that they must be ‘the change they wish to see in the world.’
Meanwhile, one of the sons needs a nappy change and their high minded mommy needs a cup of tea. Sigh.