Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There's Gold In These-Here Hills

The prospector's cry was definitely heard in the frigid North at one time -- but now, the real money's in oil, and oil is in the money. In fact, the money comes from Big Oil.

The Permanent Fund Dividend, or PFD, is the dirty delicious payoff Alaskans receive to let Big Oil rape the ever-lovin' tar out of their state. (Was that a pun? Is it clever or obnoxious? WHO KNOWS) I view it as the ultimate level in my halting progress towards becoming an Alaskan, the Final Level. This year the payout is $1,300 buckeroos -- more than 3 week's worth of pay for everyone's favorite Kana.

Now, I have never received the PFD in all my (5+) years up here. Initially, it was because I had to prove I'd been here for more than two years, so the first two were moot. I'm fine with that; laughably, I was planning on leaving in that amount of time with a degree. Double ha.

Then, my mother refused to stop claiming me as a dependent in Hawaii -- even though she'd cut me off financially during the interim. "Details", right?

Out the door...
And after I went through the emotional battle the next year of refusing her my tax info so that I could claim myself as an independent, thus beginning a paper trail for myself in-state, I then would be two years after the last Hawaii tax return before I could be considered. So, years passed.

...And around the building
I work in a state building, and walk by the little lobby-PFD office everyday. It doesn't see much action for most of the year -- but right now, the prospecting pioneer spirit has brought hundreds out of the woodwork to stand in line and pan for riches at their four teller stations. I've seen it firsthand for two years now, my time with the state -- standing sheepishly outside and around the side of the building, no doubt aware that they look like a World War 2 breadline.

This picture was c/o of a blogger who is...aggressively
political. No citation for them!
I mostly ignore it, other than taking a fraction of a second to be grateful it's not me standing out there as I duck out of the cold into the warm and fragrant lobby. But this weekend Lovely and Pants decided it was high time I looked into applying for the PFD. And so, with their threats of many beatings blessing I looked into it...the prospects (Now it's a pun) still weren't good:

PROOF OF HAVING MOVED TO ALASKA. We moved all my belongings in me and my mother's carry-on and checked luggage, with no shipped belongings. I did not have my signature on any lease or rental agreement for four years after that, living in the dorms.

PROOF OF HAVING CONSISTENTLY LIVED IN ALASKA FOR 2+ YEARS. All my work had been done through UAA's Work-Study program, on-campus, while I lived in the dorms, and therefore I had not stepped off embassy soil while in this foreign state in any PFD-meaningful way. I had no non-university paper trail until the summer of the Spa, which was a local business not in association with University. In pretty much any way, including IQ, unfortunately. But I am in no place to judge; I hadn't kept track of my voting card from when I cast my ballot in the last presidential election, nor did I have an AK driver's license or State ID. I was nobody.

I'm totally from here!
PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP IN THE USA. I had an expired passport somewhere, from when I was little and did things, but my birth certificate (no copies accepted) was several thousand miles away over land and sea, along with my social security card. My  driver's license has never existed, as I don't know how to drive (I know, I know) so I might as well be from Mars as anywhere else.

Fortunately, I was cowed with threats encouraged to find contingencies; I found my old expired passport (11 year-old Kana was blonde, and, according to my darling LoveBun, homely -- but at least she was going to England, Scotland and France) and got the date I voted from the Alaska Voters Registration. So much fun, BTdubs -- I highly recommend it as an extreme sport. Combined with my jealously guarded W2s, I was ready to deliver my bona fides -- all I had to do was join the Breadline of Eternity.

I took an hour "lunch" to stand in the line, and I managed to make it in time -- ish. But by the time I straggled back upstairs, mission accomplished (hopefully!) I was forever tainted, and not just with the reek of a thousand redneck cigarettes. Those news reporters that want to feel up America's pulse should stand in the PFD line -- these total strangers will talk about religion, politics, healthcare, anything incendiary. Like the cigarettes, I think that they think this will keep them warm.

Note: 'incendiary' is not warm, it is on fire.

I wanted to kill everything, but especially the two people behind me, by the time I inched my way towards the indoors part of the line. I was the last in the group of five let inside at a time, and I was so happy to leave their bitching behind -- they had totally united over misery and kvetchery for the past 45 minutes -- so imagine my surprise when this horrible woman's stroller-chair bumped into my Achilles' for the nth time.

She'd come in anyway.

The unaccustomed sense of (relative) quiet was due to the fact that she'd abandoned her new synchronized bitching partner outside to fend for himself, and had (I suppose) played on the security guard's sympathies to get in that much more quickly. She was definitely failing healthwise, this much was true, but I bet if that security guard had been able to see how many cancer sticks she'd sucked down in between anti-government mutterings outside, he would not have been quite as sympathetic.

She found a new kvetchee to talk to behind me, and so Redneck Conservative Talk Radio resumed. He seemed more than happy to engage her, but I'm pretty confident that that's because he'd cut the line -- just joined the end of the indoor line. It was really chaotic in there, so the only one who'd really notice is the person you're standing next to. So he encouraged her to air her views with a strong dose of smarm n' charm. I understand the tactic, and respect the cojones; but I still hold that it's poor taste to loudly argue for smaller government while in a State building standing in line for free State money. That's too much cojones, especially for an old lady.

Fortunately, I made it without exploding at all, and will soon find out whether or not I qualify to become a True Alaskan -- selling my new home out from under myself for an annual payoff, just like everybody else. Go team go!

1 comment:

  1. PFD stands for pretty fuckin' difficult for Kana to get her money! Please, when it arrives, do something nice for yourself!