"I owe how much??"
It's a privilege to live in Canada and pay taxes, I keep telling myself.
"It's a privilege to live in Canada and pay taxes," I say to my accountant.
"Keep telling yourself that," he nods.
We've been together a long time, Gary and I. He's seen me go through several boyfriends, jobs and hair colours. I have settled on grey, in general. Nice and neutral, without being black and white.
"Can't you do anything?"
"You need to spend more."
"What -- and be one of those people who spend more? No can do."
He frowns at a figure.
"That's all you spent on your hair?"
"Look at it."
"I have clients who spend more on chocolate bars in a year. Go to a nice salon sometime."
"Nice salons intimidate the hell out of me."
He taps on his calculator and I sit back. He shakes his head.
"Did you try to figure out the HST on your own? Is that what these numbers are?"
"Yes. I thought I was helping..."
He sighs and continues tapping.
"I'm performing more," I say.
"What -- oral sex?"
"If I was performing oral sex on a regular basis, my income would be way higher."
"That is true," he says. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. I could only say that to you."
"I take deep offense to your sexist and demeaning remark ... can I write off pajamas?"
He shrugs and keeps calculating. I am always on top of my taxes. This stems from being raised by two public servants. My father was honest to a fault. To a fault. As was my mother. They never should have told me, when I was eight, that I had "teeth in the back of my head." To a fault.
I see Gary, my accountant, once a year, usually in April. I think he's had some work done. The skin on his face has a sheen, a tightness. I want to say "bubula -- why?" His hair doesn't have a touch of grey. We're the same age. No one will give him incredulous stares at Me Va Me, like the entire restaurant did me.
"By the way, I'm no longer seeing clients in April. No more one-on-one sessions. It will be strictly drop off."
I am crestfallen. "But Gary -- does this mean I'll never see you again? You were the one to tell me to get an upper GI series. They found an ulcer, thanks to you!"
"You, you can come in late March or May. Do you know I have over six hundred reports to file? I'm getting old..."
I wanted to tell him no, that I didn't want to hear that talk, that we will always be in our springtime. I tug at the shirt riding up my back.
"Is this goodbye then?"
"Stop being melodramatic. No -- I still need your EI tax deductions. You'll have to come back next week."
I'm relieved. My accountant wants to see me again. He is not going anywhere. He will stay behind his calculator and not age, not forget what he just said, not misconstrue.
Not this year.
PS: If you're in Toronto, come see Hitler's Ass