July 18, 2019

Horse 2572 - Enforcing Insane House Rules

Can someone please explain a thing to me?

I was sent on an urgent mission to the offices of Apple, Banana, and Cherry Law¹, with a set of forensic accounting reports which we had written for them, and because the law firm was operating out of the front room of Apple's house, they made me take off my shoes.

I don't normally mind taking off my shoes when entering someone's house because as it is their house and therefore their tiny wee ickle kingdom, they get to make the rules. They might have come from a culture where that is the accepted standard, or they might be concerned about their shiny floors, or they might even be worried about getting bits in their carpets. On this occasion there was a really nice pillowy carpet and so it initially made perfect sense.
However, while I was there, a big happy stupid Golden Retriever who loves everyone, came bounding through the house as though the soundtrack to its life was the 'Spring' movement from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', and because it had been both in the pool and bouncing around in the mud, it tracked in a heap of muddy footprints into the pillowy cream coloured carpet.
"She does that all the time," was the response to this.

My brain was shifting without using the clutch and internally, sparks were flying. Of course you have the right to make people take off their shoes when entering your house but if the supposed reason is cleanliness, when you have a big stupid Golden Retriever  who leaves far more muck than people who mostly have an aversion to messing up your house, the logic of it all not only shifts without a clutch but it drives head on into the twin lorries of hypocrisy and sense².

If you do want to enforce the rules of your own wee ickle kingdom then that's totally fine. The world outside the door is grubby and messy. In my office at work, I have to vacuum clean the place at least once a week because as someone who walks across a park ten times a week, I am personally responsible for tracking in bits of grass. You might live in a land where you have to walk across potato skins and pickled wieners and Spiderman comics, and of course you don't want the epic tales of people's magical mystery tours writ large on your carpets.
The second that you invite an agent of chaos like a Golden Retriever into your house though, I feel as though you have already ceded all claims to clean carpets and have automatically repealed the rules of your own wee ickle kingdom.

I love the thoughtfulness of a Japanese house, where the rules of taking your shoes off are enforced in pretty much every home, where they not only provide house slippers for you but they also demarcate the space of outside and where you are allowed to wear your shoes by making you step up into the house. It is like the official border crossing into your wee ickle kingdom.
On the other hand, my house has cats in it; so trying to enforce a rule of taking your shoes off would be the work of a fool. Cats³ not only do not care about tracking muddy footprints through the house, they leave muddy footprints around with rapturous abandon. I would advise you to leave your shoes on inside my house because it is simply not worth the bother to take them off.

It is possible that Apple just likes the power to enforce the rules of their kingdom. Again, as someone who has entered their house, I more or less have agreed to abide by the rules by virtue of having entered it. By the same token, enforcing rules for the sake of enforcing rules, is going to make me question either your sanity or make me judge your character. To that end, I actually kind of also understand that a legal firm might want to project that they are a stickler for the rules as quite literally legal wrangling is their stock and trade.
The more likely story though, given what I know about Apple, is that the reason why they entered law was because they liked the power kick that comes from enforcing the rules. "I'm the boss; I'm the king. I'm the one who runs everything," is actually pretty fun if your into that sort of thing; and at least in my experience of being around and adjacent to the legal profession for not quite two decades, there are an awful lot of lawyers who really like to do lawyering.

¹Not their real name because I don't want to do any advertising for them; so in the grand tradition of law and accounting,I picked an ABC type name. I also violated my promise to the people of Banana, Queensland.
²The usual goods shipped by this mental haulage company are Ñonsense, Over-Analysis, and Ennui.
³The nation of cats is one where everyone both wants to be the monarch and everyone thinks that they are. Cat Law is very confusing.
⁴Grab your Legal Precedents and don your Powdered Wig, it's time for "Ordinary Man: The Man On The Clapham Omnibus"

No comments: