yesterday, accompanying jill at the customs desk of the airport brought to light a few things about my new life in fiji:
1. i have become negligent of hard and fast rules
2. i count on other people’s “i’ve been there, done that” stories and take them to be the norm (even if i have been reminded of the actual conditions)
3. there are A.I.B.’s in the world (a new term we have coined for masungit people who don’t give consideration)
i am talking about the vat refund scheme. in certain authorized establishments, you are given a form along with your official receipts to present to the customs officer at the airport and you’ll be given back the 15% value-added tax on the items. it’s a government initiative meant to encourage people to spend their money on the island.
sounds simple enough? it does, especially if you read the part on the form that says no goods, no refund. and even more especially if you read the conditions that say the officer has the right to inspect the items. and even more especially if one salesperson reminded you about the customs check. i must be blind and deaf or something.
i deserve a swift kick in the ass.
here’s why i find it hard to let go: it’s very not me to let my guard down on things like that. letting guard down is, in fact, one of the main causes of heated discussions in our household, during instances (and plenty of it) when my husband neglects to read the fine print. yes, reading fine print and between the lines used to be my specialty. i used to be extremely detail-oriented and didn’t make moves without having all bases covered. overanalysis was and perhaps still is my biggest debilitating characteristic.
what grabs me by the throat here is the idea that i have become too self-satisfied to care about outcomes and unconcerned about consequences of little actions. perhaps if this had happened to me alone, i’d easily shrug it off, but to have my newfound aloofness affect another person expecting positive results is just so disappointing.
in short, i hate that i have become complacent. that’s right, i have become the one thing i used to detest in utter completion. hard to imagine now i was the one who used to always say “complacency is the enemy” in even the simplest cases (such as billiard games when i get a ball in hand; yep, i love applying life lessons on the pool table). perhaps it’s the devil-may-care attitude that came part and parcel with this very relaxed island lifestyle. or this crazy notion that if worse comes to worst, we can always try talking our way out of a pickle. or it may simply be the fact that we were rushing at check-in (since we thought the flight was 30 minutes later than it actually was. plus an incident involving setting the alarm clock at philippine time… lol here) and we had to prioritize getting the bags on the plane more than the customs guy poking his head into them. whatever. there is no excuse for knowing better.
i have become complacent. i have become my own enemy.
tonight, as a start to regaining my old detail-oriented self, i will read the electric sewing machine manual. for fun.