Stella Art Thou–Winterstorm

Stella, a blitzkrieg of a snowstorm and winter’s swan song. A state of emergency declared in New York City with most above-ground transportation suspended, schools shut down and businesses encouraged to close save essential staff.

In the case of my workplace, the essential staff was the bachelor and me. Following  HR’s “work from home as necessary” guideline, neither of us could validate the necessity of staying home, us single Manhattanites with no kids.

I was productive on a quiet day. Three incoming calls total. Even had the chance to read some trend and research reports.

Around 5PM I figured I’d get home before it got dark.

“See you tomorrow,” I told my trench mate. He was watching ESPN on his computer.

“Yup! Get home safe.”

We had held down the fort of single people, a space free of pancakes, hot chocolate, snowball fights and puzzles. We stayed warm under the glint of fluorescent lights and stared out of aluminum framed office windows waiting for the storm to abate–so that we could scurry home to frozen dinners and chilled beer.

The Sans’ Burden

We gathered in the conference room to listen to HR give a presentation on the changes to the health insurance plan.

“This is a result of the Affordable Care Act. A family plan will never exceed two times  the cost of a single person’s plan.”

Hmph. I smirk and steal a glance at the guy who has three kids. Nice subsidy.

Yes, I feel like a jerk when I think like that. But still. I pay for everything on a single woman’s income (more on that shortly)–all living expenses, savings, retirement, insurance, taxes, oh did I mention taxes? No child tax credit, no dependent care credit, oh and no tax breaks for home ownership. Look at all the tax breaks you don’t get because society doesn’t care for the childless single woman.

Women still trail men in income. In fact, women outlive men, so really we should be making more if anything. Gender bias, where men are perceived as primary breadwinners, works like this. I once witnessed a decisionmaker fiddle with compensation numbers, where he initially lowered but then increased the salary of an employee everyone knows is incompetent. “Well, he is a dad. That would have been too little.” Mr. Incompetent’s wife works, too, and I’m sure her boss is not upping her pay because she’s a mother.

But enough with the gripes. It’s my fault I pay full taxes for not having kids, a suburban home, a husband and a dog. Since I’ve failed society by failing to breed and breastfeed, the least I can do is let the employer and government milk me dry.