#BackRoads Musings: Easter Sunday

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Outstanding day enjoying the Easter Sunday weather. Nothing but sun, and some cloud streaks across the Carolina skies.

My “bad boy” biker attire must’ve been convincing this morning. Some elderly man and his wife in a minivan caught me at the red light just up the road from my neighborhood; “Take a right at the next light-we’ll see you in Church”.

Guess my appearance implied I was “lost”. I had a few replies in mind, but time didn’t permit. I just smiled and rode on. Bet I could open their minds a bit on the backroads soaking in some nature vs. a sermon.

Father, brother Dain and I did one of our “short” runs to Morrow Mtn. We were craving pavement so Dain took us the long way in through Hwy 742 to 52. Loved it. Did some “Biker Fellowship” and socializing on top of Morrow, then headed back. About 130 miles total.

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As an “Ad Man” myself, Church Marketing on kiosks along the backroads always make me chuckle on these rides. They try to keep up with Madison Avenue with catchy phrases and cute references.

Two I saw today:

“1 Cross, 2 Nails, 4 Given”

(I think those numbers are a lttle off but hey…)

And the other:

“You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Happy Easter”

So creative.

As my brother says…“I’d rather be on a bike thinking about the universe and discovering it than sitting in a pew thinking about riding my bike”.  Or something like that.

NR VIEW : Tamela Rich "Live Full Throttle"

Forecast: Sunshine with high’s near 60 “something”.

That’s all we needed to hear. A small group of us wrapped up 2011 in part this past Saturday, December 31st with a great day of backroads motorcycle riding in an attempt to suck the very last rays of sunshine from our unseasonable North Carolina weather. 225 round trip miles later, we succeeded.

Thanks to Social Media maven, friend, motorcyle adventurer, and author Tamela Rich for putting out the call for a posse. She set the itinerary for Carthage, NC  – the home of Pik-N-Pig BBQ.

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We weren’t the only ones thinking about seizing the day via backroads and motorcycles. When we got to the eating hole (which is seated on some farm land disguised as small craft airport), there were a line of parked bikes.

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Inside, the place was packed with people in biker leather, denim and bright yellow touring jackets.

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We had a total of 6 in our group which included my Dad Stephen Richie, my Brother Dain, Tamela and a couple new friends (to me anyway), Bill and Ken.

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Tamela’s new book “Live Full Throttle: Life Lessons from Friends Who Faced Cancer” dropped back in early December and she’s been out on a promotional tour ever since.

I sat down with her for a quick NR VIEW: 

Getting Schooled: 11 Business Lessons I’ve Relearned in the Past 60 Days

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No big surprises. Same lessons, different day. Sometimes it just takes a yank on a scab to remind you.

1. “Who you know” really does work. When it does, acknowledge them.

2. It’s really awesome to get acknowledged and an offer to join a big company to do what you’ve gotten really good doing.

3. When an offer comes with very little questioning, qualifying, or seems too easy, be suspect.

4. If it seems too good to be true. It likely is. See #3.

5. When you get a odd first impression about the person sitting on the other side of the table, go with that. Your gut is a great indicator.

6. HR departments and the TSA seem to have a lot in common. Inane RULES contrary to common sense that impedes progress, and not nearly enough HUMAN sense.

7. Corporate people who manage up, and “appear busy” often are annoying and supersede really effective and obvious maneuvers that would actually move a project forward and make shit happen.

8. Sales 101. The longer it takes for the “official” paperwork to come through and close the deal – the higher the likelihood it isn’t going to happen.

9. In the end, the “Who you knew” that got you in can’t necessarily protect you from the corporate bureaucracy, even when they’re a key player in the middle of it.

10. It’s not a deal until it’s signed on the dotted line, the ink is dry, and the money is in your account.

10.25. Relationships and loyalty are only as good as the influence at stake, the available options and price.

10.5. If they don’t have great, creative ideas, they’ll steal yours (with no remorse) from the brainstorming session you allowed them over a 1/2 caf no-foam latte that you had to buy for yourself.

10.75. Everyone thinks they have great ideas. Finding someone to act on them and bring them to fruition is another thing.

11. People lie.

Not bitter. Just business.

ETIQUETTE OUTSIDE THE BUN

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Sure. It happens. You go through your daily routines and habits without incident. You’re cognizant of civility and manners, because your Momma raised you right. Right? But then, here comes one of those times you just aren’t aware of the offense you committed, and someone calls you out on it.

Over the weekend I slid through a Taco Bell to get some sustenance en route to the radio station to do some fill-in voice work and Irene coverage. I was starving. Figured a couple of burritos would fit in my saddle bags just right. Far be it that I should get a lesson in manners from a mouth breathing youngster behind the counter at Taco Bell, but the attempt was made and there was some success.

I was on my motorcycle grabbing a slice of Charlotte weather beauty while the East Coast was getting hammered by a hurricane. After parking, I walked in to the store carrying my helmet and gloves – skull cap on my head. There was only me and another gentleman at the counter, and he had just finished ordering.

Jarrell had a presence behind the counter. He was clearly that person in the room I often refer to as the “Cruise Director”; in control, micro manager, knows everything, opinionated, often louder than others, seemingly confident in themselves but overcompensating for the insecurities by commanding a “look at me, I’m different” attitude, followed by the need for a pat on the back.  It was obvious this kid (I’d peg him to be about 17 years old), was sure of his place in life and at this store, and I assure you it was a much higher level than reality.

“May I take your order”, Jarrell asks.

“Two Burrito Supreme’s to go”, I said.

“Five sixty six.”

My hands were rather full. I fumbled my helmet and gloves onto the counter and then through my money clip for the nearest combination of bills. I laid a five and a one on the counter, fanned them so he could see them and slid them across the counter to him.

“Out of six”, I said.

He processed the sale, retrieved the change and receipt, then laid them on the counter just to the rear right of the register.

“Thirty four cents is your change.”

Not near me. Near him. Like he was waiting on my order or he was saving it for something.

It suddenly struck me that he didn’t offer the change to me. He just set it on the counter. Then walked away to get my order filled.

When he came back by I reached across the counter and intentionally exaggerated the sweep of the coins into my hand as if I was cleaning up crumbs. I was hopeful he’d pick up on the awkwardness of my reaching across a counter to the backside of the register.

“You really should offer the change to the customer by putting it in their hands”, I offered.

“Oh, like you should’ve done to me”, he confidently quips.

I smiled. “Touché“.

As I stood off to the side awaiting my food, I considered asking for the manager so they’d be aware of the smartass working the front lines, but instead decided to just leave it alone.

Jarrell announced to the audience of one (me), over the microphone, “Burrito Supreme to go”.

I walked up and lying on the counter in a bag was my order.

“You sure you don’t want to hand my order to the customer”? My parting shot.

I did call the store this morning and talk to the Manager. Her name and phone number was on the receipt…as was his. I calmly told her what had happened. I asked her if I was wrong. She said she could understand how Jarrell might have felt. Wait! What? Really?

I told her the purpose of my call was so she could remind young Jarrell of his purpose as a front line greeter; to meet and exceed the customer’s experience and expectations. Not to teach them a lesson in manners based on what he feels is improper etiquette.

She said she’d talk to him.

So Jarrell won. He got me thinking. Was I wrong? Did I insult him? Was I disrespectful? I didn’t throw the money at him. I actually thought I was being helpful by fanning the bills out, sliding them close to him and confirming what I had given him. It bothered me all weekend.

Jarrell, you’re a twit. And I stand corrected.

 

Roots : Switzerland, Holland, Philadelphia in 1735 to Mt. Pleasant, NC in 1755

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So for most of my life…and my parents life…we were under the impression (based on stories handed down) that we were of Scottish descent. Richie of the McIntosh clan.

Nein! Come to find out in the last 10 years…we’re of Swiss/German descent. And our ancestors landed here back in the mid 1700’s…and came to Cabarrus County.

My immediate family all from St. Louis moved here to Charlotte, NC in 1979 by way of Michigan. We had no idea at the time that we were returning to our ancestors ole’ turf.

This headstone is in Mt. Pleasant…just up the road from Charlotte.

RootWeb/Ancestory.comhttp://bit.ly/ZiPAtj

Jury Duty Observations

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Got summoned. Got selected. Can’t talk about the case, but what a full day of people and process watching. 
  • New courthouse is nice. I remember the old section for jury duty – it was a DMV nightmare.
  • Holding section for jurors is a nice co-working area with kitchen, seating and TV…business section. Wifi sucks.
  • The jury coordinators have their routines and speeches down like amusement park ride operators. Lots of reinforcement and rules mixed with humor.
  • The guest speakers (court reporter, bailiffs, etc.) have A LOT to say about the role they play. 
  • Diet and exercise doesn’t look like a requirement for many courthouse employees wearing guns and accessories. 
  • Most people seem to understand the important civil obligation of serving on a jury, but loathe the notion that they’ll have to do it. It’s an inconvenient waste of their time at $12 a day. 
  • Everyday folk from every corner of the city and line of work. Even the Mayor was called in to do his civilian duty.
  • You can be an understanding, nurturing Coach of kids, and help needy children through the Ministry…and still express you’re too biased to make a fair ruling, so you get yourself dismissed from the box. 
  • Reminder: the burden is on the accuser to prove the charge, not the accused to defend innocence. 
  • In selecting the perfect line-up of jurors for the trial, attorneys are capable of asking the same question 100 different ways ad nauseum.
  • Never so tired at the end of a day from being so bored. I was warned.

Back at it tomorrow. 

Maybe Lt. Horatio Caine will make an appearance with a poetic one liner.