bunt sign

January 26, 2000

Let's get something straight: If I'm walking down the sidewalk, I have the right of way, not the car pulling out of the driveway. If the driver does the right thing and stays off the sidewalk until I pass, I don't have to acknowledge this with a smile, a nod, a wink, a curtsey or a kowtow. We've both kept our part of the social contract that attempts to keep blood from flowing in the gutters, and that's enough. I will sometimes yield to a driver who has obviously been waiting a long time to get out into the street, and I do think pedestrians have some responsibility to look out for their own safety. But in general it's up to the two-ton tin monster to give way to the 150-pound delicate construct of bones and tissue. Hearts and brains before carbs and trannies, I say.

And another thing: Use your turn signals, people! It's not that hard, and not only is it the simplest common courtesy, but it could also save a life. Mine. Because my head is going to explode if you keep making unannounced turns and lane changes right in front of me. Don't make me guess your next move, because I might be wrong and we could both be sorry. All I need to know is what you're going to do, and then I won't have to go off on your mama, using the most vivid words in my vocabulary.

If only a beautiful day like today didn't have to be ruined by work. I don't mean that it's too bad I have to work on such a pleasant day. But my frame of mind is so much healthier when the sun is out, and I can get so much done when I'm feeling upbeat, that a respite from the daily aggravations, the little things that come between good intention and low productivity, would optimize my output and make up for those days when I'm both down in spirit and overburdened with annoyances.

Today had such potential, and I was milking it, until the barrage of phone calls started this afternoon. The insurance company wants to schedule another audit, because the first auditor they sent out looked at the wrong figures. The accountant sends me instructions that conflict with something he told me a month ago, so I have to backtrack, redo some worksheets, and pay a penalty because some tax forms weren't filed on time. Meanwhile, as is the norm in the construction business, I can't collect from the people we've done work for, and yet I still have to pay the people who provided us with labor and materials.

And now this. One of the firms we're working for on a job for the State has changed owners in the middle of the project. Actually, our part is done and we're just waiting for final payment. I don't think it's even past due yet! But this turn of events has naturally turned the Boss into the suspicious paranoid that lurks barely beneath the surface. So this became a day of scrambling around, filing lien notices and attempting to find out whether the State has already paid the prime contractor for our work.

The Boss loves to start panicking before there's any evidence that it's necessary. Gets it out of the way, I guess, so he can generate some other crisis. We have no reason to believe that the new owners won't pay us. In fact, I don't think he's even talked to them yet. But by filing paperwork we've begun the process of alienating them, to the point that they will probably now wait until the last legal deadline before forking over the funds. And then they'll never hire us again. Sometimes I'm amazed that there's anyone out there who will still work with us.

First day at the new location. Not much different, eh? Just wait, though. Design enhancements will follow, as soon as I learn some. But it's really the words that matter.

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