Far be it from me to complain about the south when, in fact, there is little I detest more than snow and coldness. I mean, yes, occasionally I need to whine a little bit about the bugs. Perhaps it is true that I have compared our little patch of land to a spot on the surface of the sun, mid-summer, when it truly feels like we will never be un-sweaty again. And ideologically speaking, it maybe wasn’t the very brightest move for this pair of pro-education northerners to find ourselves in a region where our congressman believes evolution to be “lies from the pit of hell,” true, but… hang on. I’m thinking.
Okay, yes. I complain about the south quite a bit. But it’s not my fault that we have cockroaches bigger than my dog or that politics here make my head hurt.
The thing is, working from home means that it doesn’t matter all that much where I live, because my job is largely unaffected by those in my immediate vicinity. Sure, I need to venture out for other stuff, but we’ve managed to find our niches. It’s all fine. I’m just so glad my work is unaffected by the… oh.
I’m catching up on lots of stuff today, which—here in my home office—makes for a combination of work things like responding to the hundred emails I’ve had marked for reply for a month and home things like making a big batch of granola. [Sidebar: Have you met my daughter? At 100 lbs sopping wet with bricks in her pockets, I would venture to guess that at least 10 lbs of that is homemade granola. I do not know why this is a favorite food at the moment, I only know that I will keep making it as long as she's eating it.] Anyway, I’ve spent the morning going between my computer, the kitchen, my little wire inbox basket, the pantry, etc. Typical stuff for me.
So one of the things in my basket here is my county business license renewal form. Let the record show that my county (maybe it’s different elsewhere…?) has never included a checkbox that says: EVERYTHING IS THE SAME AS IT WAS LAST YEAR, HERE IS MY CHECK FOR MY LICENSE, THANKS. That would be too logical. Why include something that would allow existing information to be seamlessly rolled forward when you can make more work for everyone involved? Also, please do not under any circumstances make this a form you can fill out online! Paper and pen! YES, OKAY, GOOD.
I may have been a little bitter from the outset, is my point. I have always found this process unforgivably dumb and tedious.
The fact that you have until April 1st to submit your application for the current year puzzles me as well. Technically I am currently operating under an expired license. Except they don’t care, as long as I reapply by April 1st. Ooookay.
Anyway. I’ve lived in Georgia for six years, now. I applied for a license when I first moved here, mid-year, which means this is my seventh application or sixth renewal, depending on how you prefer to view it. All information has been exactly the same every single time. And every year I dutifully fill it out, write my check, and mail it in. Then I put my certificate on the wall when it arrives, just in case an inspector ever comes out to verify that I am allowed to be sitting here at the computer in my robe, you know, LEGALLY.
This was but a minor annoyance until last year, when that good ol’ southern fear of FILTHY IMMIGRANTS kicked in—you know, people are sneaking into the country ALL THE TIME and posing as tax-paying freelancer writers—and in order to obtain my 2012 license, I had to not only fill out the usual paperwork, but I had to prove that I was a United States citizen. This was to be accomplished by submitting myself and my Official Documents to a notary public and swearing that I’m a citizen.
Yes, even more annoying that the previous situation, for sure. BUT! The application has always required notarization, so whatever. Except now it required two stamps instead of one. Okay, FINE. WHATEVER.
BUT! Bonus: Now the application cannot be mailed, because once you present your documents and get the notarization, said application must be hand-submitted in person down at the county office. Why? WHO THE HELL KNOWS. But I recall much grumbling about it, last year, because really, it’s all getting a little silly.
So I really don’t know why I’m even slightly surprised that this year I have to do exactly the same thing. EXACTLY THE SAME THING. Even though this is my 7th business license from the fine state of Georgia, even though I proved my citizenship to them last year, I have to do it AGAIN. Because maybe I defected while they weren’t looking. And AGAIN I have to trot my paperwork down to the notary’s office, get my two stamps, and hand-deliver my application to the county office. All for the privilege of paying taxes!
I sincerely hope this is just a “perk” of living in Georgia and this sort of nonsense isn’t happening in every state. Still, I’m seriously considering writing “I believe in science” and “Help, I’m being oppressed” in tiny letters somewhere on the application. Hopefully they’ll be too busy scrutinizing the photocopy of my driver’s license to notice.