Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

What a morning.

Reminds me of the Far Side cartoon I have taped up beside me here. Two hard-hatted construction workers are sitting on a high girder, eating lunch. One says to the other, who listens with nervous eyes bulging, "You ever get that urge, Frank? It begins with looking down from 50 stories up, thinking about the meaninglessness of life, listening to the dark voices deep inside you, and you think, 'Should I?...Should I?...Should I push someone off?"

That would make a big mess, though, and I've had enough messes to clean up today already. And to make it even better, got yet another reminder of why no one likes having to deal with bureaucrats.

By sad twist of fate, I had tried to sneak out early of the second meeting I had this morning and passed my boss in the hallway talking excitedly on his cell phone with someone. He buttonholed me into what became a nice little Kafkaesque vignette.

One of the many local quasi-governmental agencies around here needed assistance getting some needed paperwork processed for a land acquisition--admittedly, it was a screw-up on their part that it had become an emergency and something that had to be done immediately, but my boss likes to try to help out. They really needed to come down to City Hall themselves and fill out the paperwork and bring the actual, complete legal descriptions of the property, but Boss said we'd take care of it for them. So he told the guy on the other end of the line to send the request to one of the guys who works the counter downstairs, and to send it to me, too.

"And what am I supposed to do, exactly?" (Because, you see, I have nothing to do with zoning or property descriptions or anything else like that.) "Just make sure Counter Guy gets it done." Oh boy. Following up on someone who's not even part of the same division. That makes you popular.

Whatever. Rolled on back to the office--we were at a remote site this morning--and had just gotten off the elevator when I was met by the secretary from downstairs who wanted to know if I had those property descriptions yet. "Uh, well, I just got in the building Miss Lady, but as soon as I get them, I'll bring them down to Counter Guy."

"Oh, Counter Guy's not here today." ::sigh:: Wuckin' funderful. Not only do I not know what I'm doing, I now have no idea who I'm supposed to do it with.

Took off my jacket, ran downstairs and got a Coke, came back and was told I had a call. It was Boss, wanting to know if I had gotten those property descriptions yet. "Just got in, Boss, but Counter Guy's not here." Without missing a beat, Boss said to give them to New Guy when I got through and he would do the rest of the processing. (New Guy is not really new--I call him that because a couple of years after he got here, he made a blindingly obvious statement about how things work in the real world. I leaned over to a co-worker and said, "You know, He's new here.") Fine.

So, off I go back to my desk to try to figure out some way to come up with legal descriptions. We have limited access to tax assessor's records, and to parcel information through our GIS system, both of which include a few simplified descriptions. That's the best I had, so I figured it was better than nothing. Printed off descriptions from both sources and neatly stapled them together and took them downstairs to Miss Lady.

"Hey again, Miss Lady, I uhmmm, am not really sure what you need for your stuff, so I gave you both the sets of descriptions I have."

"Well love, what you have to do is fill out one of these request forms--you put in the address [listed on the stuff I had printed out] and write down what the zoning is [listed on the stuff I had printed out] and the legal description [listed on what I had printed out]."

"Oh. Hmm. Okay. Well, is New Guy in?"

Went around to New Guy's office. He was chatting amiably with someone, the newspaper spread neatly on his desk. He finally got off and I asked, "Did My Boss get in touch with you?"


"Did you talk to Your Co-Worker Who Sits Behind You about these certificates we need?" No.

Oh boy, this is going to be good. I started explaining that we had an agency that needed this paperwork completed, and I had gotten the admittedly abbreviated property descriptions for them, and My Boss had asked if Counter Guy could do them and..."You know Counter Guy's not here today, don't you?" "...yes, and that's why I was told to give it to you, New Guy."

"Well, they just need to come in and fill out this form. I'm not going to do their work for them. They came in during the holidays with a bunch of these, and I'm just not going to do them. I'm tired of doing their job. If you want to, get them to fill those forms out, and bring them back to me, and I'll pass them along to Miss Lady to process."

Should I?...Should I?

Went back upstairs to my office, filled in the name of the agency and their address on a form, made copies, filled in the addresses and the simplified descriptions, noted the zoning classification, and went back downstairs to give them to Miss Lady myself. Would hate to interrupt New Guy's newspaper gleaning.

"Well, this looks fine--but you need to write the zoning class on THIS line here, instead of up there."

Yes, that would be too difficult for Miss Lady. Wouldn't want to unduly tax anyone's faculties. Filled them out PROPERLY, and handed them back to her as she continued her conversation with her friend on the phone.

I'm going to lunch now.

I promise I won't be up on any girders, though.

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