that thing i put off for a long time

When I was hired, at the end of 2011, by the company I was at for the last couple of years (until recently– now I am on my own with my own clients), I kind of stopped wanting to deal with my Mexican tax status. Working full time, I wasn’t active anymore as a freelancer, so no longer giving out receipts and collecting fees, and under law here my company was now responsible for what I owed, including the paperwork.

However, after I took the full-time job and stopped freelancing, my accountant (I) was still obligated to keep reporting on my activity, even though my activity was null, until I changed my status in the system. My accountant was doing for me what they call here filing in zeroes, meaning reporting every month that I had no earnings, and charging me about 50 bucks for it (600 pesos). I decided I could probably do that myself for free, so I asked her for my tax system password to do just that. But she didn’t give it to me, and she continued filing me in zeroes (there is a good explanation for this*). So I just stopped paying her.

Embarrassingly, which I even vaguely felt at the time. Now I can articulate it: it’s always a mistake not to fully understand, value and appreciate the service one is receiving from a professional.

That was January of 2012. Since then I have been hemming and hawing about how I need to call my account but, etc., and 48 months have gone by.

Now that I am working independently again, I felt motivated enough to finally decide I would call her up. I did that thing where you assign yourself the most dreaded tasks for first thing in the morning. Morning came, I sucked it up, and I called her. And she was really nice, even though I think I woke her up. She was single when I last spoke to her, and now she’s married and three months pregnant. We set a meeting for today, and she came over with all my paperwork, which she had saved in neat, labelled folders, and explained to me what we will do. And at the end I asked her how much it would cost, and she’s giving me a discount, but it’s still going to cost 12,000 pesos (about 900 dollars).

That’s 500 pesos for every month that’s gone by. Not actually that bad, from the perspective of what accountants charge. But from the perspective of what I have done, versus what I could have done, and why I did it, it’s ridiculous. I could have deactivated my taxpayer status two years ago and saved practically a US grand in unnecessary accounting services. But I didn’t, because I was being a baby. I guess maybe Lauryn Hill went through this same thing.

One upside is that I find blowing money on stupid stuff entertaining. Rubber chickens and scratch tickets and stuff. I hadn’t really done it in a while. Plus now that I am starting my own venture, I feel like this is a good lesson to have already learned. In a way it makes me feel validated as a small business, to be spending so much on “unnecessary accounting”… it’s helping me ease into the scale of finances that I am going to face going forward, where a thousand dollars to rectify your tax standing isn’t really expensive at all. For the old me, the informally employed and underpaid worker, it was “unnecessary accounting,” right enough– and while I could have easily avoided incurring the need to effectively back-pay services that didn’t need to be done, I did not do that. So for the new me, the responsible business owner, it is in fact a necessary accounting service.

*Looking back, I am pretty sure she gave me a good explanation for continuing to charge me for a service I felt I didn’t need, and I just literally didn’t understand: my annual filing was included in my monthly fee so if I wanted her to do my filing for that year she would keep charging me and providing the zeroes service, then file my year-end, then take me out of the system, all included in the monthly fees.

XVañera prayer

Just digging around for some things to make my XV años celebration Friday special, found this oración:

HACE YA 15 AÑOS QUE MIS OJOS
SE ABRIERON A LA VIDA
TAN PEQUEÑA, TAN FRAGIL COMO UNA FLOR…
QUE SIN DARME CUENTA FUE CRECIENDO ENTRE SUEÑOS
HOY ALGUNOS DE ESTOS SUEÑOS SE HACEN REALIDAD,
QUIERO REIR Y QUIERO LLORAR DE ALEGRIA
PERO PARA ESTO NECESITO DE TU COMPAÑIA
EN ESTE GRAN Y ESPECIAL DIA DE MI VIDA!!!!

doctors

I guess I’ve been having pretty good experiences with medical care here. I originally chose the Cruz Roja Mexicana for my trauma/orthopedic care because I knew they would have x-rays and because I knew they would be skilled doctors. And obviously as a charity organization the Red Cross is something I can actually afford (so I would be sure to “have” money for when I needed that 800-dollar MRI).

Uh, anyway. The Red Cross has good doctors. It’s a training hospital, though, so as I mentioned when I first laid out this whole spinal-injury saga, they have doctorcitos there watching while you are having your consultation, and the doctor sort of drills them on and highlights different aspects of the conditions and treatments. It can be a little distracting, but at least they are making sure to be careful about what they’re going over.

But the point remains that the patient isn’t necessarily the main focus; it’s actually taken me the course of several follow-ups to have one of my less urgent ailments addressed. I broke my neck in a head impact, but no one ever offered and I never insisted on diagnostics to my back until this last visit on Thursday (when they said I can take off my collarín!). So in a couple of weeks my back will finally get x-rayed.

I brought up minor back pain on my first visit actually, but not until the end of the consultation, so the doc was like “ah we can see to that next time” and never wrote out an order for the radiology. And then I forgot the second time when I had a different doctor. So yeah, this third time I got the order to have a study taken on what will be my fourth visit, a few weeks from now.

Given this delay, and my personal anxieties about communicating with healthcare professionals, I had this whole advocacy speech composed in my head, as follows:

“I like to dance really hard, and I like snowboarding, so can we please check my back just to make sure? And if that’s not convincing enough, I also want you to know that my pain isn’t extreme extreme, but it is substantial enough to show up in my dreams, and a couple of nights ago I dreamed I had back pain and talked to you guys about it and you told me that I was growing wings.”

I was seriously going to say that (it’s all true). But I actually didn’t need to, of course. All I had to do was tell them clearly that I wanted to xray my back.

note to liz

Look at this super nerdy facebook message I almost sent to my old roommate Liz. (We lived together in Belfast; she’s from Melbourne.)

Hey lady! Yes, Mexico continues to be awesome. I’m currently in a self-realization phase about what Black Studies scholars refer to as “double consciousness,” where people perceive you as one way because of your appearance and social status. That perception doesn’t have a hugely accurate correlation with, and often contradicts, how you ideally see yourself, but it sometimes feels necessary to play into it for social reasons. In those situations I’m critical of whether I am losing a bit of my self-awareness. Hhaha TMI. I just figured it out just now, sorry. It’s not actually about being white and American here– assumptions and understandings are probably pretty much right in those areas– but more about how I speak Spanish (like a child).

I don’t think I will send it to her. We haven’t spoken in a long time; best to keep it light.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_consciousness – Term coined by WEB DuBois, 1897 article in the Atlantic. “Being black, Dubois argued, meant being deprived of a ‘true self‐consciousness.’ Blacks often perceived themselves through the generalized contempt of white America.”

I’m not saying I’m feeling some sort of prism of contempt for this. Not at all. But basically I am saying I think in some ways my personality changes when I speak only Spanish to people. Hablo como mensa, as they say, an innocent, and I get kind of goofy and wide-eyed I think to go along with it. My friend León says I get around it by telling stories and using images, but there is still this thing about not picking up on subtext from others.

That actually probably is what shapes my social interactions more definitively– not how I speak, but how I understand others. Speaking only Spanish, I just don’t get everything that people are telling me, which affects my relationships. It affects my level of responsiveness to them, and I think that is the thing that really influences how they in turn see me.

In English conversation, I’m really good at observing subtext, and it’s kind of a shock not being able to rely on that in Spanish conversation. It’s like going blind or something. But still, you learn.

And I guess it’s balanced out by other things, advantages. Being foreign is interesting, for example. There are others.

hoodie con alas

I went to a fun party last night, at a cantina place on Chiapas that I pass all the time but had never entered. Lots of interesting people there, mixed crowd. Normal people, not hipsters –> good thing.

One dude there had a pretty cool style. He was wearing a black hoodie with black wings. I thought at first the wings were separate but then realized they were sewn on. He also had on a knit cap and diamond studded earrings, so medio cholo, but not really. No popped Ed Hardy cap or anything. Actually, Maggie called him a raver.

I asked him where he got the hoodie and he told me the Adidas store. I was immediately kind of abashed, like WTF ADIDAS SHOULDN’T BE CARRYING PRODUCTS WITH WINGS. I actually called them “alas,” since this conversation was in Spanish. He told me his shoes were also Adidas and the model was called wings.

So wrong. Do I need to write a letter of complaint to Adidas?

Nike, named for the Greek winged goddess of victory, should have exclusive rights on wings.

End of story.

Except wait. Because the whole conversation happened in Spanish, I also sounded like an eight-year-old while I was arguing all of this.

He told me the designer Jeremy Scott is a golden boy and allowed to do whatever he wants. I was like, who’s managing the brand?