the permit experience
it is long
it is painful
it is an experience
the trip down to the permit office at 941 North Capitol is an introduction to a culture, a subculture, and a world I would rather not know
while down there on this second visit I have noticed a repeat of some of the permit applicants
prior to my first day at 941 Purgatory Row I was familiar with a Mr. Permit and rapidly learned that Mr Permit is not one person but many people....Mr. Permit is a company with good company
so when I met elderly gentleman with cycling gloves, walking stick, and corrective shoes I realized I had met my first permit runner even before I got his card
on this second visit I felt better prepared
better prepared with my computer generated plans (much better than the Sharpie Marker on a digital photo of my back yard....what was I thinking?) and better prepared to spot the runners.
While waiting for my number to be called I killed time by organizing my shit
all these papers; applications, blank applications, blank applications that do not appy to me, photos, photos of the front and the back of the house to reveal that the deck can not be seen from the street, photos of the deck, photos of the deck from above, photos of the deck from the neighbors yard, photos of the deck all marked up with red pen showing where the 7 foot fence is going to go, then my Adobe Illustrator tabloid size computer generated drawings...all four of them copied four times, reciepts, copies of the STOP WORK ORDER, plot surveys, foot prints, and other stuff I may not have needed. No staples or paperclips to aid in my order, just separate them and stack them only to be confused again. It is all about killing time. As I am hopeing that this medicine show creates enough distraction that they never get to the plans at all. While reviewing my plans I ask to borrow a ruler. To my pleasure the ruler I was lent was some sort of architech tool, it had scale. It was some strange triangular ruler with all sorts of different measure...all pertaining to scale. I learned that my scale was totally off, I had not stated the scale as I knew it was off....the measure on my drawing was arbitrary. I feared that this error would be enough to force me for another reworking of the drawings as well as an education on what it means to draw something to scale. My heart rate incresed and I dreaded the loss of another day, another day to be spent in 941 Purgatory, just another waiting station in what is the bureacratic red tape that is Washington DC. This day was the tail end of a sick day, a legit sick day, no reason to share details. Light conversation started between a well dressed, well spoken Latino guy. It was discovered rapidly that he was a runner, now his card also was in my possession.
We talked of his work and the cost of his services. The minimum was 500 dollars. This did not seem like a fair price as I was 2/3 through the process. Cursing myself for not just hiring one of these guys from the beginning. It is not that I did not try, Mr. Permit has refused my work as it was a STOP WORK ORDER. Through our friendly exchange my new friend apologized for not being able to give any advice, but if the advice were free than he would be out of a job. It was then awkwardly exchanged that he could work directly for me at a reduced rate. I was thankful, but warned him about notions of non-compete. He seemed to think there was no conflict. It seemed like a good deal. With a nod and no wink I said that I would call him if I needed his services after the response to this afternoon's review.
As I looked around the corner of the room where I stood I soon realized that I was flanked byu Permit Runners. Some who had, some who had not, and some who did not care about the offer that was made. After all every waiter, bicycle mechanic, courier, or manager at the Gap thinks that they could go on their own and operate a more successful business. This guy was already trying to go out on his own.....and it just might work.
I looked around. Compared him to the others that I identified in my mind to be runners. It was an odd cast of what appeared to be a male dominated subculture. But, how was I not to know that the elderly women who was kind enough to offer some advice on the taking of a number earlier had not been a runner herself? At this point I had the business cards of two runners....but what about that young gentleman over there. I halted before I compared. This man with the ruler waws one step beyond stranger. He had done more than pass any sort of interview type test.
Anxiously I wait for the answer.
My plans were reviewed and they even called in some back up from the back room. My long and lean, handsome and polite, calm and cool, older and black permit approver stepped aside as a smaller and quiter, friendly but short, person came from the back to take a closer look.....the clincher....THE DECK DOES NOT TOUCH THE HOUSE.
Perhaps it is more of a patio then a deck as it is garden space....
but I hope
oh shit the queer eye is back
I need to try and head over there to learn my fate