Lately I’ve had reason to question my own sanity…
Okay; so ‘sanity’ might be a bit of a stretch for me. Let’s just say that lately I’ve been wondering if I’m crazier than I realized.
A couple of weeks ago I stopped off at the lumber store. I was in there for about two minutes, and as I walked back to my vehicle I thought, “Shit, did I forget to lock the doors?” (I’m having a hard time adjusting to power locks after decades of locking my old car manually.)
So I walked up to the driver’s door and pulled on the handle; and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had actually locked the car. So I unlocked it, got in, and drove away… for about ten feet, when the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke nearly made me gag.
I thought somebody must have walked by with a cigarette and the smoke had been momentarily sucked into the fresh air intake, so I kept driving.
A block down the street, the smell was getting stronger.
What the hell? Had somebody flicked a live butt into my front grille?
I got out, popped the hood, and examined the front grille from top to bottom. Nothing.
By the time I got back in the vehicle the smell had dissipated, but as soon as I drove forward again the reek was back, just as strong as if somebody had gotten into the car and lit up.
I stopped again. Got out and checked the entire vehicle inside and out. I even looked under the floor mats in case some diabolical smoker had seized the scant moments while I’d been inside the store to open a door (which I might have forgotten to lock after all), hide a butt somewhere, lock the car just to mess with my mind, and then flee.
But nope. Nada.
I made several more stops where I repeatedly checked the vehicle from nose to tail and even checked the treads of my hiking boots to make sure I hadn’t stepped on a butt and carried it into the car with me. I drove to the dealer and asked them where the secret cigarette-butt hiding place was; but they were as mystified as I. Finally, I resigned myself to the knowledge that I was being haunted by the malevolent ghost of chainsmoker who only lit up when my car was in forward motion.
The smell is gone now and I never did find the source, so who knows? Maybe a butt got stuck in the tire tread. Or maybe it really was a ghost.
And speaking of ghosts in the machine, my TurboTax program is haunted, too. Only a few days after the car debacle I was confronted by this:
TurboTax says that a Total Federal Tax of zero, minus tax credits totalling zero, equals $214.04 tax owing. I haven’t even entered my income yet.
I won’t get into the tooth-grinding frustration and unending support calls this has produced; but ultimately the TurboTax no-help-whatsoever-desk decided that it’s my fault1 their software subtracts zero from zero and gets two hundred and fourteen, and they’ve closed my so-called “support” ticket.
I’m not surprised; because clearly, I’m nuts.
Or at least, I am now…
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1 Transcript of the call, after the first hour of futility:
TurboTax HelpDesk: “You’ve done something wrong. Our software is infallible.”
Me: “Okay. What have I done wrong?”
TTHD: “I don’t know. You’ll have to enter something somewhere on a form. Make sure you fill in all the fields.”
Me: “Okay, which form?”
TTHD: “I don’t know. We don’t give tax advice.”
Me: “I’m not asking for tax advice. Your software is subtracting zero from zero and getting two hundred and fourteen.”
TTHD: “Yes, because you’ve done something wrong2.”
2 Clearly, I did do something wrong. I bought TurboTax.