April 27, 2005

Undead! Undead!

An architect asked me this morning to look for an old title document from one of our long-running projects. Since he wasn't totally sure where it might be, this meant flipping through a big stack of 3-ring binders full of memos and reports and sketches. This is the sort of task that I don't mind being asked to do; I have a strange and somewhat embarrassing love of busywork. I riffled happily through the rumpled pages, absent-mindedly reading sentences as they caught my eye. This is the part I particularly enjoy: free education, in more detail than I ever thought possible, about the mechanics of laying out a bathroom and how to negotiate road improvements with picky city planners. I'm easily entertained by the minutiae of consulting relationships.

It was with great joy, therefore, that I found myself reading a letter of complaint about the sub-par work of X Y, employee of Z Subcontractor. He's been holding up the work, I learned, and failing to respond to requests for adjustments in his drawings. Worse, "he refused to acknowledge RFI* #13 because it's 'unlucky'." This threw off communication between us, his employer, our consultants and the other subcontractors because we had to rename all of our subsequent RFIs to specifically exclude the number 13.

This guy is my hero. Real people don't do things like that. Snarky essayists write about doing things like that and we all giggle delightedly while being totally sure that they made it up. I'm utterly entranced.

*RFI: Request For Information, a formal request by a contractor for the architect to clarify a particular item in his drawings or specifications.

Posted by dianna at April 27, 2005 04:24 PM