Adventures in Woburn, Mass.:
1. The Event. I guess I should have assumed that some commenting here would go on yesterday about the unpleasantness involving an ex-participant here, while that dispute was causing me to lose all of yesterday between travel and court. (I alomot tried to put up a post late last night, but was too fried.) I have little to say on the matter, which is still being considered, except that I did learn some surprising things, such as that
- …the weakness of the concept of “lawyer-in-all-but-degree” tends to be exposed in court;
- …being banned from an ethics website is an existential catastrophe, and actionable, according to “lawyers-in-all-but degree”;
- …having a great poker face is an essential talent for a judge:
- ….in lawyer-in-all-but-degree schools, they apparently teach that the position that “judicial misconduct” and “judicial ethics” are essentially the same topic is ridiculous and libelous, and
- ….playing the part of Van Johnson in “The Caine Mutiny” just isn’t as much fun in real life as it seems to be in the movie, if you get my drift. It’s kind of embarrassing and sad.
2. A airport encounter: In the airport on the way to Boston and waiting for my flight in an early morning mob, I was anxiously wandering through the crowd when I heard a quiet male vice say, “Nice tie!” It was not obvious who had spoken, but I decided it had to be a young African American airport employee who was helping a traveler in a wheel chair. “Did you just say ‘nice tie’?” I asked him, though he was not looking at me. Then he lit up, said that he had, and got into a long conversation with me about ties. He is a tie aficionado. He has photos of his ties on his cell phone! He loves talking about ties! And thus I connected with a fellow human being in a chance encounter, when he took the step of breaking through the silence and mutual disinterest that increasingly marks the daily interactions of Americans, even neighbors. I also ensured that he would not feel like I was ignoring his existence when he had taken the risk of an unsolicited overture to interact. [Unlike the female jogger I write about here.] Contrary to some of the comments that I received then, I don’t think anything about the chance encounter yesterday should have been different if the participants had been different ages, races, ages, or stations in life.
3. Why Avis is still #2, I guess..I had to rent a car from Avis to get to my hearing. New car, prestigious rental company…and one of my tires started going flat almost immediately. After my business was completed, I called Avis roadside assistance. I gave my address and my plight, and told them where I, and my useless car, could be found. “We’ll take care of it, sir!” the Avis employee said cheerily. They would contact a local contractor in Woburn who would tow my car while delivering me to a new one in plenty of time to make my flight home from Boston’s Logan airport. Ten minutes later I received a text message confirming that a wrecker was coming to deal with my car to an address in Bedford, Mass. that had no resemblance to the one I had given Avis. Later, after I called Avis back and pointed out that this solution would not work, they apologized and assured me that the error would be corrected. Then I got a text message informing me that my car would be picked up at the correct address, and that I and the car would be delivered…. to Bedford airport. I called the local wrecker whose number was provided. Yes, he said, he had been given the wrong information, twice. “Look, my friend, they screw everything up all the time. I’ll take care of you.”
Then he came, put my car in his flat-bed, and along with his cousin, drove me directly to my gate at Logan—about 45 minutes in rush hour– barely in time to make my flight. He and I (and his cousin, Ralph) were crowded in that front seat, but we exchanged stories, laughed a lot, and had a great time.
I found myself thinking: this is why putting large government agencies and bureaucracies in control of our lives is madness. Systems break down, reliably and inevitably. People, in genuine, face-to-face, voice-to-voice relationships based on respect, caring and the realization that we’re all in it together, get things done.
They are also a lot more fun.
4. Make way for goslings. While waiting for Bob (that was his name), I settled in at an Applebees. As I was looking out the window and noticing that my right front tire was losing air, a family of Canadian geese marched onto the property, two adults and about ten fuzzy, adorable goslings with huge feet. I was the only one who noticed them, so I went over to two tables that contained families with children and alerted then to the wildlife moment taking place outside. Soon the whole restaurant, including staff, was on my side, happily watching the geese and talking with each other, but, amazingly, not arguing about Donald Trump.