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…