Employed at doing not too much

A Little Perspective column by Pat Kelly.

Lately I have been participating in a paper chase that seems to have kept me busy and a lot of other people employed at doing not too much. Coming from the Boundary, I am used to people doing something for a living. Farmers grow food, mill workers make boards, teachers teach the kids, etc., and at the end of the day they had produced something.

But it gets confusing here in the city. For example:

I rent this house through a property management company. It’s not the same property management company that I dealt with last year when I first rented the place. I guess property management is a lucrative sector of the local economy so a big fish company came along and bought out the little fish company about four or five months ago. Sort of like Monopoly, but it’s a house instead of a hotel and it’s located on Fourth Street not Park Avenue.

The property management company has policies and procedures that must be followed to the letter. If Mom and Gin are going to be allowed to live with me then they have to fill out application forms and provide ID and such. According to the company they will now be classified as roommates instead of Mom and Sis.

The ID has to be state-issued photo ID. But Mom lost her driver’s license a couple of years ago and we’d never bothered to apply for the state ID. After all she is well into her 90s and Gin and I look after her pretty much; so why should she need an ID? The answer is simple—Mom needs the state issued photo ID because the property manager policy book says she needs it.

One of the many helpful property office employees told me to go to the DMV to get the ID. But the DMV employee told me that their policy requires a birth certificate. So off I go to another office to fill out more forms and pay more money.

All this just so my mother and sister can do what they have already been doing for the past month—living with me on Fourth Street. It took over a month to sort all this out because when I called the property company six weeks ago to see if it was okay that they move in, and the lady on the phone started telling me about the ID policy and such, but when I introduced the wrinkle of Mom not having any ID, the woman on the other end of the line said, “Well, how would we know if she is living there?”

That seemed a reasonable solution to me at the time. Just move them in and ask permission later if ever I needed to. About three weeks after talking to “how would we know” lady, I got a letter from the property management head office that answered that pesky “how would we know” question. The letter was notice of the annual house inspection.

So Mom now has ID, I have made application to take in my new “roommates” and at least three or four people have been gainfully employed making sure policy has been followed all along the line.

But I am at a loss trying to understand what it is they have produced. It’s not like they can point to a pile of lumber at the end of their workday.

Take care of someone who loves you …..


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