I’ve spent the better part of the last month distracted and I’m sure I’m not alone. After all it is Tax season, and seeing red is incredibly distracting.
Taxes are never fun, and seeing that you have a balance due is usually a recipe for a bad day, or at least a bad few minutes, a mood scaled proportional to the balance itself.
For me, the bigger distraction has been the extra focus on the roads in an effort to avoid potholes, when I should be looking straight ahead into the great wide open. Unfortunately, my attention is fixed on what might only be a few feet ahead of me, occasionally making a quick Mario Kart move to evade the crater. Comin’ in hot at 22 inches at its widest point, it’s just waiting to take a bite of my 18 inch aluminum wheels, and more than likely, the aggressor pothole is positioned just inches beyond the moment that my road hazard warranty runs out.
I usually find myself driving home after a nice dinner, replaying my conversations to try to determine all the times I might have offended my fellow diners, only to find that my language processing function in my brain is in direct conflict with the part of the brain that pays absolute unbroken attention to the condition of the asphalt mere feet in front of me. Spotting the hazard on the way to dinner and promising not to get caught by it on my return trip doesn’t work any more than an electric shaver delivers a close shave.
No sooner than I can calculate my next year's tax plan with mental math, I’m greeted by the spring time enemy of the state. The second I spot it, it’s too late for me to react without hitting a car in the oncoming traffic, but it is not too late for me to flinch as if I’m attempting to use my telekinesis powers to levitate the vehicle over the hole. But it does nothing but prepare me to hear and feel the impact and grind my teeth in perfect step.
It’s like getting hit in the head by a hard object. In an instant I’m mad at everyone, everywhere for everything all at once.
So naturally I curse the Mayor’s name and wish dishonor on his whole family and his dog.
Believe me, the Governor is not exempt, and I can’t promise my congressman won’t get a call as well. What’s more frustrating is that for the following days, I notice every slight pull or wobble of my car as I drive–and I wonder if I should submit a damage report to the Mayor's Action Center.
The convenience of having elected officials in a democracy is that we citizens have the opportunity to blame someone for every problem we have. This is pretty much how it goes for everything. Wages, the price of gas, water pressure. Someone needs to be held accountable, and blamed for things not working out, and there is little that is more American than to blame the Executive Branch for anything from potholes to gas prices.
Speaking of gas prices, thousands of people are dying in Ukraine right now at the behest of a petulant dictator and we’re on a razor's edge of a nuclear world war.
So gas prices are higher than usual.
Hopefully, by using every tool at our disposal to cripple the economy of the aggressor, a larger scale war won’t happen. One of those tools is tightening our supply of oil causing our fuel supply to become complicated, and therefore costly.
Can you believe it? We’re at risk of nuclear war, countries are being taken over by conquest AND gas prices are up?
I blame the President of course. Just like my wife blames me for the inequitable boob-to-dong ratio in the shows we watch on streaming services–especially the first episode of a series.
I didn’t even write the script, much less produce the show. How am I supposed to take the blame for the first episode, and if I’m lucky, every other episode after that because they forgot to put sausage on our pizza? It’s not like my measly $9.99 (formerly known as $8.99) is going to give me the leverage to change a casting lineup or wardrobe choices in every episode.
But let’s step back for a second. We really shouldn't be worrying about the small stuff. We’re too busy complaining about paying taxes and trying to eventually get an accurate count of our streaming services. The other thing we should be counting is the $15 dollars total–or in other words, one and a half streaming services–that will crush our budget for the two to four times a month that the average person fills up their tank.
We’re perhaps less focused on nuclear war though.
And why is that? When I could be focusing on the road ahead, enjoying the open road and hopefully seeing hazards well in advance. Perhaps I should celebrate that I can afford to spend more on streaming services than I will pay in increased gas prices, and be thankful that I can take on that cost to help reduce the powers of evil in this world, which could become far more dangerous if they are left to their own devices with impunity. Perhaps I could swallow my pride for a moment and pay my taxes, and be thankful that our democratic system has resulted in one of the greatest (but not THE greatest) interstate transportation systems in the world.
Maybe we should just look at the open road ahead of us, keep an eye out for hazards, and be thankful that if our eyes are open, we have the capacity to avoid them.