Saturday, December 24, 2011

Queuing Up

The concept of queuing, in our society, is taught early in elementary schools. If you walk into an elementary school during class changes you will see long lines of children all in rows. Teachers teach them to keep a line "tight" and the times a gap opens up the other children are quick to tell them to move forward. It is the same in the military, lines for everything: eating, classes, rifle range, swimming, fighting, etc.This queuing behavior is pervasive in our interactions with others.

The best examples of our adherence to queuing rules is while driving. Our roads are marked with lanes in which drivers attempt to stay. The concept of "folding" is well followed when two lines must become one, each car taking their turn during the melding into one line.

The worst examples are seen when a person attempts to jump a line, or when a person cuts a line. When this happens many people are outraged and stressed because the rules have been ignored. A special case of this behavior is during rush hour when all lanes are tight. If a person attempts to keep too great a distance from the preceding car another car will pull into that gap. A mature driver does not consider this reprehensible because there are times when they have done the same thing, lines should be kept tight.


1. Upon entering a fast food restaraunt with people looking up at the wall menu, there is no apparent line to get into. Further, you do not know the order in which people arrived. In short, you do not know where you stand. The situation is in disorder. I have been known to announce, in a loud voice: "Who am I behind?"

2. Checkout lines in the supermarket are troublesome. How much space is given to the person in front of you, how much space do you need behind you. If your cart bumps the ankle of the person in front that has obviously been too close. If you get an ankle bump then the "sufficient gap" rule has obviously been violated, I remember how offended I felt when a male in front of me put his hand on my cart to ensure what he perceived as a proper space. How dare he! I felt a mild violation on my person.

3. The meat counter at a supermarket attempts to bring order by using a numbered tag system. This works well when only a few persons are there. When many are waiting some people wander away to shop instead of having dead space in shopping. Invariably, a person comes up that has missed their turn and here is where stress builds up. If that person gets waited on next there is the appearance of line jumping. The proper thing to do is get another ticket and wait some more.

4. Bathrooms do not appear to be a male problem but females are often queuing for the opportunity to relive themselves. I am skating on thin ice here so cut me some slack. If a person comes up and begs someone to let her in because of extreme distress, and a loving heart lets her in, it this true line jumping? Is empathy universal in the line? Does the situation cause grumbling in the line?

Perhaps we all need a class that will advise us on proper etiquette for these life situations.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

George Walker

George was the Chief Stylist for the Ford Motor Company in the late 1950's. He presided over the very large, curved building known as The Ford Styling Studios. He had an article written abut him in Time Magazine in which he was drubbed the Celini of Chrome. He drove an all white Lincoln convertible, white paint, white leather, white instrument panel, white sidewall tires. He had an all white, large dog which he ferried around in the front seat. He liked attention. He looked like Santa Claus without the beard and white hair. His face was ruddy and his belly did shake like jelly. He was fond of walking down the very wide center isle in the Styling Building and greeting everybody that he passed by. His greeting was mostly the same: "Hi,ya fella" and he would extend his hand for a handshake. His smile was infectious and everyone around him usually was smiling. Everybody in that building knew him and his penchant for shaking hands.

One day, while walking with another designer, we were closing in on George coming our way. After shaking hands my partner said to George: "How about buying us a drink." I could not believe he said that and found it an imposition on him. However, George quickly put his hand in his pocket while saying: "of course, take what you need." My partner took some coins out of his hand and George offered it to me. At this point I looked into George's hand. It was puffy with fat fingers and it held many coins of all denominations, including a St. Christopher medal. As I reached into his hand a strange feeling came over me. I felt like a beggar with shabby clothes and appearing hungry. I remember thinking: "Why am I doing this, I can buy my own drink." It felt like I was grovelling for his largess. I played the part of the good employee, took out some coins and thanked him. He was soon on his down the isle.

I never forgot that feeling. It was not the first time that I reached into a persons hand for a coin because it happened often when selling papers on the corner of Lawndale and Vernor. But this was significantly different from the transaction of getting money for a paper while giving the paper in return. This was downright demeaning and I was shamed by doing it. I resolved then to never put myself in that kind of position again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Roof

A tip of my hat to Kathy who understands only too well what I went through.

The real estate agent told me the roof would be a problem because it was 20 years old. I did not want to replace it because two estimates were in excess of  $12,000. Two roofers had told me that the roof had another two to five years in it. I had made repairs a few times and that was what I wanted to believe. The agent explained that any FHA mortgage would require a new roof, our only hope was a cash deal. OK with me, lets do a cash deal. Only those buyers are hard to come by.

Over the years the price of the house kept being lowered, following just slightly more than maret value. When a buyer was found he insisted on a home inspection. Of course the inspector found some defects in the roof but they could all be easily fixed. The costs for a fix would be about $1,500. However, the buyer insisted on a new roof before he would buy. Auurrgg!! A potential $12,000 cost that would not be recovered, an additional out of pocket expense. I was told about an over-roof that would be less expensive (shingle over shingle) and got the buyer to agree to this. Further, the mortgage companies recognized this as a new roof. I could save myself $5,000 going this route. Yep, this is for me.

Two roofers said they would not do it. "It does not look good." they explained. I found a roofer that would do the job for $6,400 and engaged him. The buyer wanted to move in on November 29 and we had plenty of time. The roofer, Emmitt, said he had a job to finish before he could start. When he was ready, I showed him the inspectors report and he said he had to look at the roof  once more. That additional look cost an additional $750 because of some wood rot. Rain coused a delay, Getting a permit pulled caused a delay. His workers doing another job caused a delay. The slack was gone, the roof had to go on now!

He started on November 26 and said it would be done on the 29th. Some rain caused a half-day loss. The 29th came and the roof was not finished. Pat and I moved to Georgia on the 29th. My agent got a new close date, December 3, and Emmitt continued to work on the house. He found additional wood rot and increased the price an additional $150 to do it. A building inspector (hired by the buyer) found spots where water would pool, Emmitt was notified. When he finished the roof I reminded him that his contract called for gutters to be cleaned, realigned, and all leaks fixed. December 3 came and went, Emmitt was still working. We did close on December 6 and the City inspector had not yet approved the new roof. Well, it is now up to the new owners to get all the nitty-gritty done. Emmitt got his $7,300 which was $900 more than his original estimate.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Another success for personal destruction

On November 8, I wrote about the politics of personal destruction. Today, another target for personal destruction was achieved by the democrats. Herman Cain, like Sarah Palin, was attacked by lies and smears. Once the attack starts there is no relenting, if one lie does not work another is tried until the person is worn down. The idea is, when multiple lies are repeated over and over again the people lose confidence and become uncertain. This uncertainty tends to dry the flow of money into the campaign. A candidate is forced to cut back on expenditures and the campaign slows to a halt.

Herman Cain is a good, decent man, a strong conservative, and is good for this Country. He believes in smaller government and this makes him a threat to liberals. With this success the liberals will focus on another target. Watch for it.