Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life’s little certainties

Don't cross streamsThe cardinal rule in the original Ghostbuster movie (left) was never, ever to cross the streams of the proton guns.  Similarly catastrophic events can also come from more prosaic sources: banking and taxes.

Yesterday I launched into my formal renewal of my Tier 1 UK visa. For months my immigration advisors have been telling me that it’s a pro-forma exercise: much like the Dutch, show that you’ve bee doing what you said you would, that you’ve not had run-ins with the law, and that you’ve maintained minimum bank balances and salary slips.

The problem began when we started assembling the documentation.

A year ago I switched from being an employee to being a contractor, but allowed the checks to pass through my UK personal accounts on the way to the Dutch company accounts.  Unfortunately, this transient presence meant that I could be considered UK self-employed, possibly unregistered, perhaps untaxed.   It can apparently be set right, but will take time, money, accountant’s testimony, and endless paperwork.   I have, I all cases, reported my income, kept meticulous records, paid taxes, and followed my accountant’s advice. This wrinkle never came up in any conversations (the concern was more whether I respected the IR-35 line, which assures that UK workers don’t evade taxes by setting up foreign consultancies).

However, it reinforces the Ghostbuster Prime Directive: Don’t cross the streams.  Or, in this case, never ever allow business funds to unintentionally co-mingle with personal accounts.

Ever.

SchrodingersCatThe whole day went similarly: Every opportunity or issue that I looked at went bad.  It feels like a trend: Days  that begin badly seldom improve.  

Friends have talked about the phenomenon of one bad thing following another as being a case of bad karma, synchronized biorhythm dips, and alignment of body atoms into configurations that attract poo.

I think the explanation is more quantal.

Schrodinger’s Cat is a famous physics construct where a box holds a cat that could be alive or dead,  depending on the outcome of a probabilistic event.  The act of looking condenses the uncertainty into a fixed (and final) state..

If events remain similarly unresolved until I look at them, and the act of observing is revealing one bad consequence after another, then I suspect it’s only prudent to stop looking.  Maybe there’s a quantal bias that has to clear (luck?); maybe my attitude is influencing the outcome (dread?).  204296_700b

Maybe it’s nothing.

But maybe there’s a point where it’s best to stop killing cats and simply go to bed.

You laugh, but when I got up this morning, Obama had been re-elected.  ‘

Imagine the consequences if I had looked last night?

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