Thursday, February 13, 2014

One of the things I see that a lot of people are not good at

 is the basic ball park guess. I lot of people don't really even know how to figure out a simple basic ballpark ETA.

Too many people have become too reliant on electronics like GPS. When you ask someone when they are going to arrive they'll quote you some amazing exact figure they got off of Google Earth or something. It's generally wrong. They don't figure the little extras that come along.

The other day I was asked what time I was going to arrive somewhere and I replied, "About 200 miles to go. It's 0800 now. Figure about fifty mph. I ought to be there a little before noon."

It worked. I had given the person a reasonable expectation.

While it wasn't an answer like 11:51:13 and he could plan on opening the door for me to magically walk in on at precisely 11:51:14 it gave him something to work with.

I reported in at sometime between 11:45 and 11:50 which was about right. It was a little before noon.

Of course, some readers are thinking that the speed limit is 65 and I should have been there earlier. Yet one has to figure that I had to get off the turnpike as the rendezvous was a few miles off of the pike and I had a town or two to pass through via the old US routhes and state roads.

Couple that with a quick gas/pee/grab a cup of coffee to go stop and that knocks a little more off of the rate.

I think a lot of people don't know how to think very well anymore because they are too busy letting electronics figure everything out for them. While electronics are dead on accurate, they don't take a lot of things into consideration and allow for things like the human factor.

Of course, an accident tying up the lane on a turnpike cah throw this off completely but we're not talking about this sort of thing. We're covering normal conditions here.

A while back I saw a sign saying that somewhere in California was about 2400 miles away and I commented to my passenger that it looked like three days drive or so from where we were.

He commented that it at 60 mph was only 40 hours away. I asked him if he planned on driving straight through with no stops for gas or rest room breaks and he grew a bit silent. He argued that gas stops would only take up an hour or so along the way.

I pointed out that three days would afford a couple of good night's sleeps and some decent meals. It would also insure we didn't fall asleep at the wheel.

While three days is 72 hours and the actual driving would be in the neighborhood of 40 hours you have to figure everything in.

I suppose as a younger man I could have made the trip in 40 hours but I have gotten wiser with age. There's no need to pull a pimplebrained stunt like that these days.

Then I asked him if he planned on starving or living on gas station hotdogs for 42 hours and that aybe a little sleep would make things a little nicer.

Another ballpark estimate I made a few years back is that a GI canteen cup holds about $50 in change. It seems that every time it gets full enough for me to turn into cash I wind up with somewhere in the neighborhood of $50. Generally a little more, but in that neighborhood.

I suppose there are people that would argue that because they either only save pennies which would yield less or they only toss quarters in which would yield more.

I dump all the pocket change in and wind up with about fifty scoots when I cash out. About $50.

I suppose this is the kind of figuring that drives bean counters nuts but I'll do a story on that down the road. Bean counters can't count because goodwill isn't calculable but can pay off in very handsome dividends.

In my line of work I am constantly being asked what time I will be getting started, getting finished or will be ready to do something. Giving a truly accurate figure is impossible. However, coupling experience and a little simple math I can generally come up with a pretty good idea of what time I will be ready to go.

Of course, the office is aware that estimates are just that and knows that we're talking in ball park figures. It could be a little bit each way. Still, it gives everyone some sort of reasonable expectation. When someone says they will arrive on Tuesday, it's a good thing to know which Tuesday he is talking about.

Even though we live in an age of electronics and technology, the best we can hope for is a ballpark figure because technology can't predict the future and fails to take human needs and problems into consideration.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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