Tax season has arrived. And tax season always lead to contemplation of the weirdest thing about me. Now, my husband might say that there are much weirder things. And my best friend might say that my love for my husband is the weirdest thing. But, to me, the weirdest thing is my love of doing taxes. And here’s why. When most people who know I’m a writer find out that I do taxes (or vice versa), they ask how I can do both. And really, I have no idea.
A number of years ago, I took one of those tests that determine what your learning style is: Reading/Writing, Aural, Tactile/Kinesthetic, or Visual. And while I scored highest in Reading/Writing, all of the other three were tied at a number that was not significantly lower. So basically, while I’m most comfortable with Reading/Writing, I can learn in any way that a teacher can teach. And that seems to go even further. Once I know and understand something, I can translate it into any learning style. I used that to my advantage a lot when I was tutoring.
The weird thing is that almost exclusively tutored math (even though I was a History major with aspirations as a writer). I hated math from 8th grade all the way through high school. Then, my freshman semester at college, I took college algebra with a professor that wasn’t actually a member of the math department. He was the dean of the computer information sciences department. All of his examples and explanations involved computers. And I loved that. As a person that somehow managed to grow up around computers, that was a language that I understood. Not only did I actually comprehend that class, it suddenly felt like all the classes before it suddenly made more sense. And that seemed to unlock a door. Because I could now take algebra and make it English for all the poor masses that don’t speak Mathematician. And later, when I started doing taxes, I found I ended up doing a lot of the same. People don’t just want to know that they took the standard deduction, they want to know why (especially if they had charitable contributions or medical expenses). And I tell them. In English. Because most people don’t speak IRS.
In that way, I guess, math and taxes are the same as writing. I’m taking something in my head, translating it for all the people who aren’t in my head, and then putting it on paper. And with math and taxes, I like that there’s a right and wrong answer. When I’m done with a day of taxes, I don’t wonder if they were good. I don’t wonder if it’s a big waste of my time to do it. Because numbers don’t play around like words to. At least not at the level of math that I know. And definitely not at the taxes level. Those numbers always mean the same thing, do the same thing, and give the same answer. That’s why I like doing taxes, and I like tutoring math. The numbers don’t mess with my head and make me feel crazy. And it’s nice to take a break from crazy once in a while.