Sunday, January 18, 2004

So, yeah. I haven't been updating this blog with any sort of consistent regularity this year. This is partly due to working on other writing projects, partly due to lack of inspiration, but mostly because of work. I'm in public accounting (auditing, to be specific), and this is the busiest time of the year. It's also the time of year when I am even more tired, irritable, listless and sluggish than usual. So, please indulge me for a brief round of pointless and ineffectual complaining, and regular programming (such as it is) will resume shortly.

Tax season will drain the livelihood out of the strongest, sturdiest individual. Long lists of deadlines to be met, neverending hours of work that cut into whatever free time is left over at the end of the day, all taking place in a cold and miserable winter that puts a bleak landscape behind the whole pointless and tiring agenda.

Making matters worse, I live and work in suburbia, which is finally starting to inflict full-on ennui on me after about a year and a half of residence here. I'm originally from a small rural town, so the novelty of not having to drive 20 minutes when you want to buy something held sway over me for a while. But now, the thought of spending the rest of my lifetime in the neverending, undifferentiated stripmallTGIFridayschurchdiscountsuperstorehousingassociation Pangaea that is American suburbia doesn't seem like much of an improvement over the dead end nothingness of a small town. The isolation of the suburbs is suffocating - from the endless commute, where the knotted mess and pressures of space and time turn total strangers into mortal enemies to be distrusted or feared, to the drive-thrus and ample parking and residential islands that serve to make social contact optional, to the sheer difficulty of finding likeminded people in an environment where despite the population density, people are scattered to the four winds.

You might think that auditing, which at least allows you to work in different offices, might provide some relief from all of this tedium. But it's just like tempwork - all the different offices are essentially the same, all blending into one gigantic undifferentiated mush. The same bleak industrial parks or sterile commercial office zones, floating out in space connected only by interstate highways. The same lukewarm coffee and routine banter. The same spare desks or conference rooms where they place you, separate from the rest of the people working there. This doesn't bother me too much during the rest of the year, when the job is manageable and I still have enough free time to pursue other interests, but it's unbearable during tax season. I accept that you have to make sacrifices in life, etc., but it is wearing at times.

(OK, I know - I should quit my job and move if I don't like it. I've run a cost-benefit analysis on this, and I've found that periodic complaining is cheaper, easier and more fun than massive life changes. I realize that my work could be far worse and I should note that eight months of the year, I don't mind my job and the liabilities that come with it. But tax season bites hard, so I think that one rant a year on its suckiness isn't asking for too much. OK, enough already. Back later this week with more stuff on more interesting subjects.)

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