Finishing Touch


There’s a highly trafficked road near our home that was being refurbished all summer. It got so chaotic, and the wait to get through so long, that many people avoided it for the entire season. I am sure the businesses in that area took a terrible blow.

The original road was ground up, sewer pipes were laid, curbs were removed and replaced  and finally a beautiful ribbon of jet black asphalt was spread.


All that was left was to have the white lines and arrows painted on.

When I drove up this now wonderfully smooth, brand new road yesterday I was shocked! It looks like the guy with the line painting truck must have been tipsy when he arrived for work. The lines wiggle and some of them veer off and randomly come to an end.. There are smudges, can marks, tire tracks, spray paint marks, drips and dribbles all over the place like the paint was leaking from a container. It’s an absolute, unexplainable mess.



I spend way too much time analyzing stuff like this..

But were there other workers (a project manager maybe?) at the site watching this guy paint? Did they say anything? Did the guy bother to examine his trail BEFORE it was completely done or did he just race through it and then look back at his “work?’ Was he under time pressure? Was he high? Was he mad..depressed..suffering from vertigo or double vision? Was he brand new to painting? Was he two weeks away from retirement? Did he actually think he did a good job? Was it just him or was there an entire crew of “don’t give a damners” working out there?

Was anyone let go?

I thought about the man who recently installed our tile; his painstaking measurements, the tarp he put down every day to protect our carpet, the way he wiped down the floor and the shower and sprayed the tile dust off our driveway before he declared the job complete. This guy cared about finishing touches!


I think the key to caring about the quality of one’s work is having our name clearly attached to it. It’s the inherent anonymity of working for large organizations that leads to trouble..the greatest example being the government. Anyone who has ever sat at the DMV, the VA, or on hold with the IRS knows this to be true. It’s easy to do lousy work if you can hide within the folds of a bloated institution.

I asked my husband, who drives that road to and from work every day, what his thoughts and feelings were about the messy lines…

“Whats messy lines?” he asked.







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