Shout Out

I’m always complaining, ranting, and whining about things that don’t work. Especially technology that doesn’t work or that doesn’t live up to the initial hype. Like ATMs. Teller machines. They were supposed to save us all money, they claimed, back in the beginning. Why, with the savings they would make, they’d be paying us zillions of dollars in interest. Sure.

Customer service is usually my target. I’m still dealing with the PIN issued for the new credit card because the PIN still doesn’t work —

But that’s not what this post is supposed to be about, so let me make that shift. This is instead about doing my income taxes.

I use software to do my taxes, been doing that for over twenty years. I’ve been using H&R Block’s software for the last nine years. Each year, the whole process becomes a little better. This year, it sparkled with amazing efficiency. I completed the taxes and filed a few weeks ago. “Your return should be accepted without two to three days,” the software told me. Zap, my Fed return was accepted in thirty minutes. Thirty minutes later, Oregon accepted it.

Well, cool, isn’t that great? I thought so. “You should receive your refund in two to three weeks,” the software told me. The IRS has made this part really easy, establishing a place online where you can put in some info and see what’s going on with your tax return. I figured that I’d check that the next week for an update.

Two days later, I checked into the checking account online. Lo, a deposit was pending, and gave the date when it would be received, along with the amount. Yes, it was my tax refund. I was receiving it less than seven days after filing.

I thought that deserved a shout out.

A Dark and Rainy Dream

It was all wet, black and white, for a while. I was with many strangers in a dilapidated, rusted out industry area. Worn out, rusted metal and falling brick walls dominated the land. Seems like a railroad yard was not far off. There were many cyclone fences, barbwire topping some. Holes were in the fences where people had trashed them. Gloominess prevailed.

I was being detained (wrongfully so, in my mind) with all these strangers. I was to stop and stay there. Didn’t want to but recognized fighting against it would be foolhardy, a conclusion supported by strangers giving me warning stares. Okay. Authorities were threatening a black man, same age as me, a few feet from me. He had a long closing knife, brass and wood, which he covertly dropped and kicked to one side. (The knife was the only color in the dream at that point.) I shifted, covering it with my foot, then drawing it back, biding my time until I could slip it into my pocket.

Later, after the authorities moved off, I gave him his knife. He thanked me in broken English. We chatted, and he warned others not to bother me, acting as a protector. He seemed like he was Japanese, then I realized he was Korean. I mentioned that I’d been to Kunsan Air Force Base in Korea, supporting the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. He showed me a color photo of a Korean male. I recognized him and told him we’d worked together at Kunsan. That seemed to bond us.

We were released shortly after that, but now specific customs and rules needed to be observed, like where to stand (and not) while waiting to cross the street. Watching others, I quickly picked up on what was what, but my new friend took pains to point everything out to me. I appreciated that. We made our way through the gated area to an intersection, then waited with others for the light to change so that we could cross.

After crossing, we realized that we were going in different directions. He showed me the knife again, thanking me for recovering it and hiding it for him, then showed me the photo again (at which we laughed), and then shook hands and said good-bye. When I turned and started walking, I was suddenly by busy freeways of white cement. The rain had stopped failing. The clouds were breaking up, and night was coming.

I felt happy for having met the man and helping him, though it was such a small effort for me, and pleased with how he’d helped me.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Glory to you and welcome. Today is the old U.S. tax day, Thursday, April 15, 2021, when taxes needed to be filled, or an extension requested (and even if you get an extension, you’ll pay penalties and interest on any taxes owed). The tax deadline filing date is slipped back to May 17 this year, so you got time if you need it.

Sunrise came to Ashland in southern Oregon — boom — at 6:30 AM exactly. Sunfade is anticipated at 7:52 PM. What a bright sun it is, too, already warming our cool mountain valley air to 55 degrees F.

Been out shopping this morning, the usual Medford supply run for food and treats. Restocked my coffee (we are saved!). Love that French Roast stuff.

My mind started noodling the old 10,000 Maniacs song, “These Are Days”, when I was masking up while I was out. By old, I mean, 1992. These are days we’ll remember, I’m sure. Those just being born will hear about it. Those gathering again at high school reunions in ten years will be talking about, as will those getting married, and those of us just skimming along, doing our thang. Makes it an apropos song for any time, though I wonder what they’ll say about these days in a hunnert years.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get the vax. Cheers

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