Rules

We all need to make money; I recognize that.  We all need to live within the legal guidelines that our judicial and legislative bodies put together; I understand that.  We all need to make our own rules by which we conduct ourselves daily; sometimes I break those rules.

I used 65k miles to reserve a ticket overseas in November.  It usually takes :30+  to get the airline agent to put everything together and find out what flights are available for us “freebies”; all we need to do is pay the taxes. Aside from going through the auto-responder garbage and finding suitable flights for you to travel, the time is worth the effort.  I’m booked. Well, now I want to change my itinerary and the strict rules – we-have-to-make-money rules – come into play.  Grrrr.

Why does it take more time and effort to make the reservation, apply your miles and pay the taxes than it does to cancel, and yet, it costs $150 to cancel if you want to keep your miles.  $150!  Airlines are in financial trouble – join the rest of the world.  But…I find these rules absurd.  Is it just me?  I costs me $150 to stay home, and only about $400 – everything included –  to go.  Hmmm.  For $250 I travel.  Baffles the mind. 

What rules are written that are unnecessary – to us?  How inflexible are some of the clerks behind the counter:  “I’m only obeying the rules.”  I know that, you know that, but who wrote the rules?  Why?   Sometimes I think that companies and agencies write rules just to aggravate their publics.  And just think, they didn’t ask us.  Amazing.

Do you remember as a child or teenager when you wanted to do something and one of your parents –  or both – said, “no.”  You asked, “Why?”   And their response?  That’s right, “Because I said so.”  Their rules may have been made within a second of our asking permission.  The rule just magically appeared and we were not only to respect, “Because I said so, ” we were also made to abide by it.  Do companies come up with rules on the spot, and then put them in their culture without any respect for their publics?

Not all rules are absurd, and not all rules are made to be broken.  But some…you know the ones that cause you heartburn and give you hives.  These policy and procedures were set forth for a purpose, but sometimes I can’t fathom the purpose. 

When you read your newspaper in the morning, I’m certain you read about some rule that has overstretched its web of influence and caused more harm than good.  A case in Denver last week was about a deceased man’s car continually getting tickets for expired license plates, even though his wife put signs on the windshield -“Owner Deceased!” and notified the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.  The tickets:  14.  The total – with late fees:  $400.   One rule compounds addressing another.  If the death certificate had been declared earlier; if the estate were able to get the money to pay…, if the attorney; if this had happen; if this hadn’t happened. But they didn’t.  Now, with all the media hullaballoo, the widow is excused from paying the finds.  She’s grieving, she’s lost her husband and yet, rules are rules.  Injustice maybe?

Most days these rules, regulations, policies and procedures don’t affect us.  We live within the laws/rules of society and I’m glad they’re there.  Some days, the rules hover over us like the black clouds of Hades.  The quagmire of society, community, corporations, companies, agencies and home thickens when rules outweigh common sense; We obey them anyway. 

A few weeks ago my friend Lance sent me an e-mail about what life was like back in the 50s, when we, as children, ruled our lives with minimal restriction on health, diet, exercise, food, attention span, parental guidance, respect, etc.  It made me smile.  To think that with 1000s of fewer rules and restrictions we not only survived but prospered.  Imagine.  But then again, there weren’t over six billion people in the world, iPods, 100-channel tv’s, hand sanitizer, Swine Flu, Twitter, computer games, pandemic health issues, global warming, tofu crazes, hormone-induced chickens, multi-million-dollar sports figures, or $150 change fees. 

It’s Friday.  I hope that you have a great day and that you don’t have to circumvent rules in order to smile.  Live within your values and rules, and accept the others as you will.

Enjoy – that’s my rule of the day.

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