Thursday, March 21, 2013

Maybe 'They' Don't Realize It's Broken

Just a quick anecdote today. When I first moved into my neighborhood, I noticed a broken streetlight. The top fixture was dangling off of the pole. As the weeks went on, I started wondering when 'they' were going to fix it. I wasn't exactly concerned; it was just something I noticed whenever I would pass by and then forget about by the time I made it home. Well, one day (I'm embarrassed to say about eight months later) I finally realized that maybe 'they' didn't realize it was broken.

So, I went up to the street light, found a little metal plaque on the front, and wrote down the utility company name along with the 'map' and 'pole' numbers. I looked up the company website and filled out their little maintenance form. When I checked my email the next day, I saw I had a reply just after 6am saying that the company was working through a long list of issues due to a recent storm, but my request was now officially in the system, and thanks very much, and so on. Wouldn't you know it, but when I went home that night, I casually looked up at the problematic streetlight … and it was fixed. Facepalm!

All that time and no one in my neighborhood, including me, had bothered to mention the broken streetlight to anyone who could do something about it. I guess I had just assumed that the light would have been in some automated system and that alerted the powers that be when something was amiss. Guess I figured 'they' were deliberately or otherwise ignoring it. Well, turns out 'they' didn't even know it was broken. An interesting lesson that I have applied with decent success in other aspects of my life.

I'm not saying this always works, but a surprising amount of the time, just bearing witness to whatever truth you know calmly, methodically, and with some degree of hope takes care of a surprising number of problems that pop up from time to time. Basically, even though it can be a challenge to get what you want in life, it's increasingly impossible if you expect other people to be psychic.  ;p

by Laura A Knauth

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