Yesterday morning Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, jumped on my bed, and gave me the usual stare-down. The one he gives me every morning, compelling me to get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head, and then make my way down to the kitchen to feed him.
Only yesterday, it was a different kind of stare-down.
“What, Henry?” I groaned. “Why are you looking at me that way?”
“I’ve got some good news and bad news,” he offered up. “Which one would you like to hear first?”
I opened one eye and wearily said, “Tell me the good news.”
“Your daughter is heading back to college today, and it’s going to be months before you see her again.”
That’s not good news, Henry. You know very well I’m miserable about her departure, and am going to miss her desperately. So, tell me the bad news.”
“Okay, but first I have more good news.”
I adjusted my pillows and sat up, and looked at him with a skeptical eye.
“Okay, Henry, tell me your other good news.”
“We’re in for another hot, dry spell. It’s going to be over 100 degrees again today.”
“Henry, don’t you know anything about what makes for good news?”
“At least we have air conditioning,” he added with a wink.
“Now, that’s good news, but I already knew that. So, what is the bad news, Henry? I’m getting impatient.”
“There’s one more piece of good news!”
Turning red-faced, he said, “I just had an accident downstairs, so I can wait a bit before you take me for a walk.”
“HENRY! I can’t believe you think that’s good news! I’m guessing that the bad news must be really, really incredibly bad. ”
Henry nodded and blurted out,
“Amazon just started charging tax in California today! Your free ride is OVER!”
“What???” I demanded, with a sense of panic overcoming me.
“Kaput, gone, finito,” he sighed. “It’s hasta la vista, Baby!”
“Henry! This can’t be true! Say it ain’t so! Amazon’s been fighting the state of California about this tax for years. No way. NO WAY!”
“Way,” Henry replied solemnly.
Which is when I bolted out of bed, turned on my computer and headed to the Amazon website, where I have at least 20 things in my shopping cart, and about double that on my wish list.
As I prepared to make a purchase, to see if Henry was right, I took one look at the total, which included the estimated tax, in bright, bold numbers, and screamed.
Henry, seeing my pain, put a paw on my shoulder and said,
“Look at it this way, Cook. At least now you’ll be contributing to a good cause, helping the state balance its budget.” He flashed his best smile at me.
“Henry, ever hear of the old adage, ‘Kill the messenger’?”
Which is when, Henry jumped off my bed and hightailed it downstairs, retreating as quickly as he had appeared, leaving me to begin my 16 stages of grief.
- First, I cried.
- Then, I sobbed.
- My sobs soon turned into giggles which just as quickly turned into maniacal laughter, while a nervous tic developed in my eye.
- I climbed the walls and injured my tailbone when I landed on the floor.
- I suffered a nosebleed.
- I tore my hair out.
- I then scrapbooked my Amazon invoices from past purchases, where the tax line item still said, “zero.”
- And, I devoured a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, not noticing I was eating a flavor I didn’t like.
- I reflected on the old days when I could make any purchase and not think about the tax.
- I buried my head in my pillow while holding a printed version of my Amazon wish list.
- I belted out the lyrics from a song by Bad Finger, “I CAN’T LIVE, IF LIVING IS WITHOUT YOU…”
- I then watched a marathon of The Brady Bunch and cried for the Brady kids who lived in a time when shopping online didn’t exist.
- I listened to the song, “Free Ride,” by the Edgar Winter Group and cried when it was over.
- I watched a documentary about the Amazons and got another nosebleed, when I realized it wasn’t about the online retailer.
- I wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos and begged him to give me one more tax-free day.
- And finally, acceptance. I tried to accept the new tax charge, but instead fell back to square one, thus starting my stages of grief all over again.
And here, I was hoping California would legalize marijuana and get their much-needed tax revenue that way. But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. That bill didn’t pass the electoral vote.
Amazon, it was a good ride, but now it’s over, and I have a feeling my life will never be the same again.
How about you? Have you ever had something you’ve secretly enjoyed, taken away?