Cause I'm The Tax Man - And You Have A Money Pit
Today I had to take the day off of work so I could go down to the State Auditor's office to pay my property tax. Yes, it's a time honored tradition twice a year and so conveniently timed right around Christmas. The last time was in April, three days after my birthday.. which means I get the nice gift of giving the state my money for the land that I'm standing on.
Either way you cut it, I'm typically getting squeezed for my money around the time when I will more than likely need it. Last time it was around a long Northern road trip and of course this one is right in front of Christmas. Well, it's more right in front of Hanukkah. For a state the depends on consumer spending, I do think that someone really planned these twice a year payments out poorly.
Me outside of the auditors building... very grumpy
The state auditors office is a pretty odd place. It's located next door to where you would go for Jury duty and all the courts are located in that area, there's the fountain that you saw in 500 days of summer. Considering that his is in the Courthouse area, you wouldn't be surprised when I told you that the security check points/metal detectors for the court house. But in the situation of the Auditors building, there's not any security at the doors. There's no metal detectors, there's nothing.
If anything, there's only some cement poles on the outside. I have to wonder about this. We all hate paying taxes. It's something that is a given, along with Death, but it's not something you get excited to do. Given that the payments come twice a year, specifically before the times when you'll start needing your money to do summer vacation planning and winter holiday shopping, I would think that there would be more people that would attempt to do something crazy in these buildings.
Maybe someone with a bomb strapped on their chest? Maybe some crazed gun men.. something. But the only indication that I can gather is that someone once tried to run their car into the building given the cement pillars outside. If that's the only thing that has happened here, I really gave humanity, especially the people that are in this society too much credit. Then again, considering how people turn a blind eye towards politics, it's only when it comes to the justice system that people get crazy.
I suppose I can't complain too much about this weekday trip to downtown. It's an interesting adventure into Downtown during the middle of the day, something that people seldom seem to do. mainly for good reason, but it also has some advantages. You get to see the wild life in the light of day and enjoy some happy hour specials at the local bars. I choose the Red Wood Bar on this fine day. It's always nice to get away from society and get into a place that looks like a pirate ship. Also a location for 500 days of summer.
I was almost tempted to take the newly open gold line into downtown as parking can often be an issue. But considering there's Art Walk tonight, a car is the better route to go about it. Besides, Art Walk is a special thing. Something to enjoy all the truck foods and look at the downtown flea market. It's really a great experience all around and shouldn't be overlooked.
Downtown in general is a beautiful place to visit. Sure, it's no New York - thou it often plays it on Television/films, it's still a fairly nice downtown area. It's mostly intimidating to outsiders and most people who live in the urban sprawls across Los Angeles. Which is a good thing. It's that best kept secret only know by the few willing to give it a shot and willing to venture out of their comfort zone.. and who aren't afraid of the fake danger that is around this area.
As for the property tax. I went in there, with the slew of other people who felt that they didn't want to trust the post office with their envelopes and paid off their bill to Uncle Sam.. or should I even just say Arnold? I think the added bonus of doing it in person, other than just realizing it's paid off in front of you is the scenery.
The people there.. that is some amazing people watching. Most noticeable is a bag lady with a pile of property papers/folders. I don't know how or why she owns so many plots of land if she's not living in any of them, as is clear by the massive amount of bags she is wearing. I guess I can't judge too much. I am wearing a comic book shirt. But this really confused me. It really makes me wonder about the homeless people in L.A. are they all land owners? There was a time when only they were allowed to vote... Oh, those simpler days.
Along with her I see a lot of older ladies and Asians with folders upon folders. It sort of troubles me that I'm surrounded by what seems to be a lot of slum lords. It's like waiting in line in court and realizing that you're standing next to a lot of criminals. Sure, they aren't all that way.. But I would be surprised if the majority wasn't.
That idea does lead to a bigger issue. Why would anyone want to own property? Let me tell you that it's very simple that anything you get will be a large money pit. My place, to put it kindly, has been a huge money pit. I would have more fun digging a hole, tossing gas in there and then tossing bags of money into it. At the very least I'll be a lot warmer with this open flame, all things considered..
Many newspaper writers and industry experts claimed that now, specifically, is the best time to purchase a property. However, they fail to inform you that although now may relatively be the "best" time to buy or own a home or property, you should never actually go out and do so. Their claims are the equivalent of saying "medical technology is so advanced that now is the best time to have your head surgically removed and replaced with large breast implants." even though that course of medical action will leave you with the same outcome of being a property owner.. You would be a huge boob head.
Every time I hear someone complain about having to pay rent and wishing they could own their own place I sort of die inside a little. Oh how the grass is always greener. I sometimes wish I had an apartment because of the costs of ownership. Add in that whole idea of waking up at 7am, chugging a beer and blasting the music loud in your living room is not always as easy when you have to compete with the neighbors blasting Mexican folk music from their cars or honking to signal whomever they are picking up to come out as their ride is now there.
At some point in your life, after you have mistakenly became a home owner, you will move on to the next stage of insanity in becoming a do-it-yourself idiot. It's unavoidable. Even if you have an apartment or live in your folks basement, one day this bug will hit you and you will be called upon to build or fix something. Instead of taking the proper and smart advice of hiring those expensive contractors that cost $100 an hour and steal your underwear, you'll choose NOT to use them because, who has that kind of money or frilly underwear to spare? Think of learning these lifelong skills as an investment in yourself. Much like investing in Nigerian stocks....
I don't know how many small things have broken, how many contractors I have been through and how many times I have fixed and refixed the same things over and over again and it's no where near getting any better in terms of interior looks. I think I have made it a new years resolution for the last few years to finally fix it up. I'm sure this place will be my grave. Till then I suppose I'll be in line at the Auditors office twice a year looking at Bag lady. Maybe this finally puts it into prospective. Bag lady wasn't always like that. I bet she was once a young and beautiful women who defied the cultural ideas and became a property owner, buying some property that needed "a little fixing up", but the years went by and the hardships of the job paid their toll and now here she is. Bag lady in line paying property tax for a bunch of sticks barely holding up a mountain of mold and termites.
What I'm trying to say here is that you should love the fact that you can write a check to the landlord at the beginning of the month and be done with it. Damn you lucky bastards..