A Flood of Bureaucracy (part 2)
It was a lovely morning, and the carnage of my patch of succulents was complete, with only one or two hen-and-chickens hunkering down beneath the reach of the iron tines of the rakes. I was sore wroth.
One of the neighbors (not the ex-berry farmer) happened to be out in her vineyard that morning and noticed that it was an official road works truck, little men in orange jump suits. (She’d thought they were clearing the culvert, which they did not, stopping well clear of the clogging weeds and debris it held.) Ten increasingly irate phone calls and many days later, it turns out no, it couldn’t have been an official truck because the county didn’t have a crew there that day, and they don’t wear orange jump suits, and there wasn’t a work order for my area, and anyway “Our guys wouldn’t have done that.”
So I am here to announce that the Martians have landed, and wreaked hideous destruction my patch of succulents. Or maybe Islamic jihadists have decided to strike at the Watsonville roads and thus paralyze the nation.
Ten more cautious and firmly controlled phone calls later, I now have a form (which took me fourteen solid minutes to download on my dial-up connection) requesting a No-Mow Order, with detailed instructions on how to construct marking stakes so the crews will pass by my next attempt at erosion control. My Passover stakes are, appropriately, red-tipped, and are to be lettered with, on the first one:
And on its partner barely fifteen feet away:
Most ridiculous thing I’ve done this month.
Not that bureaucracies necessarily breed inanity. A few years ago when I applied for a permit to build my mother a house behind ours, the form came back approved and ready for posting. Looking more closely, I noticed that some anonymous friend in the planning department had solemnly typed the following into the box labeled “purpose”:
RETIREMENT COTTAGE FOR SHERLOCK HOLMES