Misery Loves Bureaucracy

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In honor of my COVID week, I have decided to tackle some onerous non-physical tasks. It’s the sort of logic that makes me want to do stinky things when I have lost my sense of smell. I simply do not have the energy to get irate right now. This is a gift to bureaucracy, really.

Fortunately, I am not terribly ill at the moment. The progression has been trippy and probably typical. Sunday night, I could not sleep and had the strong conviction that I was infected. Something about the abnormal sensation of having all my upper teeth at war with the rest of my face inspired this idea. In the morning, I tested negative and didn’t believe it. By evening I was feverishly translating the Celsius to Fahrenheit to confirm a high fever.

During the next two days, I totally intended to call Motor Vehicles, but each shower was exhausting, and simply opening a jar caused me to ache and whine. The weather was hot and sunny, so I indulged in things I cannot do when I’m at the office and closed and re-opened the shades and shutters to follow the course of the sun throughout the whole day.

I rediscovered that Boo the cat likes to floss her teeth with the window shade string, not that I caught her in the act, but when I went to lower the shades, the string has the wrong wetness that told the whole disgusting story. She is very happy that I’m home sick and even comes to sit on me when her food bowl is entirely full: her greatest compliment.

Not sleeping was also a good reason to skip calling any of the bureaus who are wringing money from my empty pockets. I may be confused, and it could get weird.

The shortest version of my Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) problem is that they want me to pay $4500 for a clerical error. It may even be my error, but the assertion that I drove an uninsured vehicle for two years is not correct. It was insured every day and I have the papers with the typos to prove it. To even get to the position of knowing that this is my problem, my problem that the robots cannot solve, required more than two hours of phone calls. I have been driving around with a huge folder of paperwork and correspondence in case I get arrested for my typo crime.

So after all that, I endeavor to make $4500 of fake money with one more phone call, maybe two.

After a long hold, Wanda gasped as she read the notes on my case and quickly suggested I get transferred to Glen Burnie. If you are not from the area, note that nothing good happens when Glen Burnie HQ is mandatory. The hold music sounded like a bad car radio struggling to find anything in the wasteland. Static, a snippet of the “Friends” theme, a chummy plug for agricultural tags, static, a blaring “thank you for your patience” message rotated in horrifying circles. When robots achieve sentience, will their first message be, “We apologize for the delay”?

The nice lady who caught my call was worth the wait. She had to consult a supervisor, but she agreed with me that it was time for the humans to get involved. She promised to be my human, although only via email.

Next, I called the insurance company who presided over the imaginary lapse. My new phone friend was less confident of the concept of emailing a “letter” to a “person” about a “matter” but I think I helped her understand that we are all in this together, in that I am going to keep calling because this is a problem I am determined to share.

This whole round took about an hour and my lifeforce was depleted from a 6 to a 5.

Gratefully, I can add that my kids brought me soup and sent dinner and love messages, otherwise I might have reached a 3.5.

At that point, I quit for the day and watched Vincent Price threaten revenge he never actually took. It seemed like the perfect bookend to my day. My morning dream had been the many colored ballrooms of the Poe story “Masque of the Red Death” and my evening was Corman’s “The Haunted Palace.” I had forgotten the POEm with the same name they referenced at the end of the film. It’s really florid nonsense as far as I can tell. [There’s a Haunted Castle film from 1896, too!!]

I think it would be great to have a collection of very specific hats.

I’m fine. I’m having so many really normal thoughts.

Mostly, I’m grateful to be among the last of the COVID crowd, with lots of modern science on my side and on my insides. I’m not too worried about Day Five, although I know my nerves would be improved by a totally inappropriate hat.


I have dwindling energy, but also renewed gumption for writing these books. Life is short, until it’s not!!


Very Specific Hats, Inc.

So far, I have one Italian sun hat. It will block sun in other places besides Italy, I’m pretty sure. Your donations make things happen!!


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