Cogs in The Machine.

And what a well-oiled machine it is!

As each wheel turns it drives another, and another, and another … The Machine groans on relentlessly, unremittingly, unstoppable.

Encounter With a The Tax Lady

When I first came back from my travels … “Here we go again!!!”

All right, all right!

When I first came back from my travels, one of the first things I did was to check out how I stood with the taxman.

No, I’m not crazy!

I needed to know so that I could get on with my business.

I didn’t want to be worrying about the Grim Reaper-in-as-much-as-I-can-get-from-you, nobbling me for some unquantifiable, unknown levy extorted from yacht skippers who had enjoyed themselves for the last fifteen years. You know, a sort of ‘sitting on the beach in a foreign country tax’, kind of thing.

I walked into the local tax office, explained my history, and asked: “was I all squared up with them?”

The grey, prissy lady looked up after a well rehearsed pause, peered over the top of her bi-focals and gave me a down-the-nose once over.

I watched from the very edge of my seat, sweat running down my temples, I winced in anticipation as the clerk tapped in my details.

“There you go Mr Money King, just a couple of seconds, my computer’s on a go slow today” … Why do they always say that?

Well, to my amazement the screen came up blank. She met my gaze and sneered: “You don’t seem to exist on our records, as far as we’re concerned, you owe us nothing!”

Yaaahhhooooooo!!!!

Well not quite. This was not such a great event as you may think. It is a wildest fantasy (one of them!!!) for some … not to be logged on any national computer database, but believe me it creates a whole new set of problems.

To not exist within the system totally excludes you from any of the benefits available from it, which many take for granted … such as being able to borrow cash to buy a house. This was serious because one of the reasons I came back to Britain at that time was to establish a base, a home where I could resume my former free life from at a later date.

I had a reasonable deposit, but the only way for me to get into a property was to take out a mortgage. Not so easy to convince a company to lend you tens of thousands of pounds when you have no proof of who you say you are!

“Who are you?”

“I’m Mr Mr Money King, but I haven’t got oodles of cash yet!”

“How much do you earn?”

“Enough.”

“Can I see proof?”

“Of course. My money is paid into an offshore numbered account.”

“Oh really!!! Where do you live?”

I reel off my address.

“Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. How long have you lived there?”

“Three months.”

“OK! … mmmmmmmm … Where did you live before that?”

“All over, but mainly on boats in the sea” …

“Oh! … Well Mr Money King, I’ve put your details into our computer and frankly,
you’re a non-person, you don’t exist! You’re not on any voter’s register, or housing tax register, or known to credit reference agencies or”

“I know that, but couldn’t you just see your way to lending me a couple of hundred thousand for a nice little cottage I’ve found???”

See what I mean? The answer was, that I had to get into the system in order to take advantage of its benefits.

I had to start living a new life outside the twilight zone.

I … I … I … I had to do it, I had no choice … I had to become a cog!!!

I had to re-invent myself. I had to become a hardworking slave to autocracy.

But, because I had always lived outside the infrastructure my eyes were wide open to the dangers within it … or so I thought!

As I built a new life within the system, as each piece of the jigsaw slotted into place, I could see how it affected the new order I was trying to create in my life.

However, it soon became clear how well The Machine had done its job. The Machine is a chameleon, master of illusion, you don’t even know it’s there until it’s too late.

I, the big, wise adventurer slowly and surely became trapped and no matter how aware of manipulation I thought I was, I wasn’t even close!

I had wondered into a modern day ‘Predator Trap.’

The Average Cog

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