The difference between testing and implementing new ideas

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This week marks the convening of the Entry Level Driver Training committee in D.C. Twenty-six people from all walks of the transportation were chosen from nominations made to the FMCSA to to lay down uniform parameters regarding driver training. I have high hopes for the committee — it’s a fantastic idea in theory and if it will be allowed to actually do what its been formed to do, it will be a fantastic thing.

Any time you read the words “in theory” there’s a follow-up. In theory, they should be able to get together as professionals and do the things that need to be done regarding driver training and certification standards, but in reality, every idea has to be deemed cost-effective to implement, because a price CAN be put on safety, and no one is willing to really pay the full amount. So I fear this excellent idea and compendium of professional transportation minds will devolve into the cesspool that every other good idea hits in Washington, and become an endless swill of pointless meetings that do nothing but waste the valuable time of the people involved, and the people counting on them to actually do something.

All that being said, I sincerely hope the committee can do some good. I learned my own valuable lesson in theory/real life this week, and it wasn’t nearly as pleasant as sitting in a meeting.

We got home yesterday, to spend a couple days thawing the well pump out – because that’s exactly what George wants to do on his time off, but hey, we live on the dark side of Jupiter and it’s been negative freezing temps for so long, we’re all going to perish. (This could be a filthy lie. I could possibly be slightly cranky about the lingering winter, but I’m not sure.)

Anyway, I’ve been gone almost two weeks, and I’ve been worried about my cat. He’s really partial to me, and a little skittish, so when I’m away he gets a little feral.

“Say no to the harness.”“Say no to the harness.”

The boy does a great job taking care of our animals while we’re gone. The dogs love him to death, but the cat is my cat and he gets salty when I’m away. I thought about trying to acclimate him to the truck and take him with me for a while but couldn’t talk George into it, so I decided I’d try to get the kitty used to a harness, so he could be walked like a dog and alleviate the litter box, which is George’s opposition. (That, and the fact my cat is crazy as hell.)

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I had a little trouble getting the harness on him – and when I say a little trouble, I mean he nearly clawed my left ear off three times. I figured this would get easier as he got used to it, so I bandaged myself up and twisted his hissing, clawing body into the cute little cammo harness I paid twelve bucks for. After losing enough blood to warrant a transfusion, I sat him down (before I dropped him). He fell to the floor, limp and hissing, refusing to move at all, except to swipe at me if I came withing striking distance. He immediately started chewing at the front of the harness, all the while growling and hissing at me. I don’t think our relationship is ever going to be the same, even though I sacrificed enough skin to warrant having to super-glue flaps of it back down to get him back out of the cute little, cat-slobber-soaked, chewed-up harness.

So, I’m pretty sure the cat won’t be traveling with us any time soon, and his behavior kind of parallels what happens when you force change on people who don’t care for it. Let’s hope all the good people we’ve got milling around up there in D.C. remember that. I’d hate for them to lose an ear – I can personally attest that it’s a painful lesson.