Monday, October 27, 2014

Rules of the Road

I'm officially over my jetlag and the stomach bug I had before and after my trip (lucky me).  It's time for those reflections on Italy I promised you.  Our trip to Tuscany was a fly/drive package, which meant we flew in and then rented a car to drive while we were there.  Daughter and I drove a lot.  Here's what we noticed.

1.  The left lane is for passing only.  I know, that's the rule here as well.  The difference is that in Italy, they follow the rules.  As a result, traffic flows far more smoothly and faster.

2.  There are no stop signs.  There are only traffic lights in LARGE cities.  Every intersection is a roundabout.  Can you imagine?  You know what I'm going to say next, don't you?  They worked because everyone followed the rules and yielded to the cars already in the roundabout.

3.  Blended merges were blended merges.  Everyone took their turns.  Traffic moved faster as a result.

4.  Pedestrians really have the right of way.  Sure, I almost hit a few of them as I was busy listening to Ms. GPS tell me where to turn, but no one was ever actually injured.  Aside from those few close calls, which Daughter would require me to disclose in the interest of transparency, traffic stops for pedestrians.

I know, you hear all the time about crazy Italian drivers, and they certainly drive fast.  The rules of the road are the rules of the road, and they are obeyed.  Period.  It's so different than here at home where the left, middle and right lanes are all for the slowest drivers, or the fastest drivers, or wherever anyone can find a place to fit their car.  How many times have you approached a roundabout, a four way stop or a merge and no one knows the rules or they are in such a hurry that they figure the rules don't apply to them?  Don't get me started on how many times I've almost been killed crossing the street.

The Trenches is a lot like traffic.  There is an order and set of rules that determine the procedure and the process.  Depending on what method of dispute resolution you use, the process may differ, but each method has their own progression and attendant rules.  In order to move smoothly through the Trenches, the order must be followed.  Trust me on this.  I have clients who don't understand this, and they try to do things their way.  It's always a mess.  You can't buy your new home before you've determined and agreed from where the funds are going to come.  Usually, you can't purchase your new home before you've sold your old one.  You can't get financing while you're still married without a separation agreement.  Still, there are clients who try to do it backward.  They put that contract down on a house and want to work backward - and they need that work done now.  Really?  Thanks for having me negotiate when you have everything to lose.  No pressure.  I can probably do it, but I guarantee the road will be extremely bumpy.  Put on your seat belt. Too bad it didn't have to be this way.  I told the client there was an order and a process, but they didn't listen.  Settlement will be that much more difficult as a result. If they'd only followed the rules of the road. Here in the Trenches.

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