Einkommensteuererklärung August 1, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Darlings, can any resident of the Bundesrepublik, past or present, local or foreign riff-raff, let me know if they’ve ever submitted their Einkommensteuererklärung – that lovely old tax declaration – quite as contumaciously late as I have this year? I don’t want to go into too much detail about my incompetence, silliness, laziness and fecklessness, but let’s say that it’s a very, very recent weight off my mind. Now I await the consequences, and my punishment, with bated breath.
I quite like the idea of going to prison in Germany. But worry I’m in for something lighter. A fine, say. Or, if I’m very unlucky, a live bollocking from one of those short-blond-hair-and-glasses women at the Finanzamt – they moved to a purpose-built, extra-depressing building in this area a couple of years ago – whose lips have been almost permanently pursed since 1977. I’m too lazy to be bothered to actually commit a proper crime, so think this is my best chance of a run-in with the law – a minor financial infraction. German magistrates don’t have quite as sexy regalia as their British counterparts – who does? – but they still wear quite a dashing red cape, and even, if you’re lucky, a silky red cap – I’m wondering whether I’ve dreamt this now – and it would be something of a thrill to have a German judge bark whatever German for, “Take him down!” is at me, with fraught relatives and, who knows, perhaps even the Russian, weeping frantically on the sidelines. I would shrug stoically and manfully, all the while sending them telepathic messages to bring me a file in a cake.
But you mustn’t think I’m a proper crim. I’m much too much of a wimp for that. And I wouldn’t know whom to target were I to go in for a proper life of crime. I majorly disapprove theft, although a nice mugger in Petrozavodsk did at least return the handbag full of documents to a drunken English muggee when I was there. Humane mugging. I’d feel silly loitering at East Berlin hotspots selling cut-price Ukrainian cigarettes concealed about as well as Cristo concealed the Reichstag in the strategically-positioned bin one inch away. There was some talk amongst a few of us Berlin bloggers, plus an eager accomplice in London, of setting up an NGO involving quite serious levels of embezzlement, but we never got the idea off the ground.
So I’m a low-level crim. Indeed, it really is only the declaration that’s gone in late. I’ve actually been paying my tax, as the tax-folk are happy to take your cash based on whatever you earned the previous year until you get round to delivering the current one to the aforementioned pursed-lipped ladies. So my chances of doing a stretch are probably small.
Which is a shame. When I lived in England, I was known to enunciate my greatest fear, when playing a what’s-your-greatest-fear-type game, as spending time in prison. This was because I imagined some grim, Victorian edifice with 40 to a cell and levels of violence that Guy Ritchie would balk at. (Mind you, Peter Wildeblood, imprisoned in England for homosexual offences in 1954, quite liked prison. And Alan Bennett has made a character find love and happiness in prison. And Theodore Dalrymple talks of folk finding something like happiness there too.) And what if the institutional colour was brown? And I had to work as a seamster? And I’d so obviously get fagged – or does this only happen in public schools? – by the scariest prisoner on site, not a feature visible for fat and tattoos.
But German prison holds no such fears. I’ve seen documentaries, you know. All nice and cushy. They’d probably have gay-awareness-raising classes. In English. And I’d learn German properly. And who’s in prison in Germany anyway, apart from Steffi Graf’s father? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I hope no-one’s been reading this piffle long enough to remember old posts. This blog is now going into recycling mode. Wildeblood’s been done before too – but I’m convinced German prisons are full of jaywalkers and people who refuse to accept the neue Rechtschreibung (spelling reform). I wouldn’t mind hanging out with people prepared to serve time for the sake of an ß.
And don’t you think I’ve overlooked the sexual angle for a second, because I flipping well haven’t.