Nothing saps confidence and ambition quite like a tax return. In anticipation of an inevitable cash-flow crisis in Germany, I decided to prepare myself for the worst and spend all day calculating exactly how much money I don’t have.
This process spread over Excel documents, online Inland Revenue forms, cigarette packets, reams of lined paper, inky hands and countless unidentifiable receipts is guaranteed to ruin a day. And so the clock turns to nearly midnight and nothing of worth is done. The management of my money relies on nice surprises, payments I had forgotten, invoices not processed, tax rebates etc. With a tax return, it is never going to be good news.
Still it will make me cherish the next three months, even if it does quash my idea of a prolonged unemployed stay. There is also pressure here now, financial pressure to make this more than a holiday, to make this time productive in a future sense. I am bored and tired and bad company recently, as A.D. will tonight attest. Still, he propelled conversation with more grand stories about Arabic scholars, and succeeded in reigniting something within me once more – that which wishes to read and to be read.