Good Call, Bad Call, Easy Call, Hard Call

This page written circa 21 May, 2000.

Recently Kay and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, the third. (I tend to remember other dates, like the day we first made love, or the day she moved into my flat five years ago, but there you are.) I have not regretted marrying Kay for a moment, which is saying something. I don't think we have ever had a nasty argument. I felt as if I should work that alone into a text to be chronicled here, but since there is little more to be said, going on about it would only be nauseating.

I remain under pressure from Amelia and gentle supplication from Kay to return to Oz. There are pros and cons to this, some of which have been discussed in these pages in recent months. In fact, the pros are easily summed up as our being close to our many established friends. The cons are mostly material. My dear accountant, Sidney, informs me that our Australian rental income is peculiarly affected by GST: "Residential accommodation is input taxed, ie you cannot charge GST to tenants nor can you claim back any GST paid on expenses paid on the property. It is a cost that the landlord has to absorb." In an attempt to prevent us moving the agency away from them, L J Hooker in Newtown told me that GST would not be charged on existing agreements, at least not for a period of years, but I now learn this "only applies to short term (traveller) accommodation" and not us, as they would have had me believe. This is absolutely typical of Australia. Explain to me, someone, why a country whose leaders are often crooks and less often well-educated does so much better than a rich land whose leaders are typically university-educated and occasionally Rhodes Scholars?

The engineers here do not think too hard about buying cars... BMW or MX5 for the younger set, Benz, Porsche or something nostalgic like a Mustang or old Corvette for the older set, Jeep, Lexus or Toyota is popular for the female contingent, exceptions to these rules being vans for those with children and pickups for those living in the bush. Insurance is cheap, gas is cheap most of the time, and even here in California registration is not a huge hurdle. One's car costs maybe half one's annual gross salary new. Less is on the line in such a purchase.

When I ponder all these things, it occurs to me that I have far fewer decisions to make here than I ever did before, and less daily angst. Any lifestyle to which I return will have to be one where the system treats me well, not one where I have to struggle to live as I can so easily here.

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