So, here’s the backstory on this one: In my capacity as a Project Manager and Construction Consultant, I’ve been putting a renovation project together for a prominent restauranteur here in Lahaina, who, like so many others connected at the hip to the visitor industry, is completely shut-down amidst the stoppage of tourism and growing uncertainty. As a savvy businessman, he wants to utilize the unexpected downtime to make much needed repairs to his historic building's failing infrastructure, but the standard timeframe (pre-Covid) of the entire process for issuance of proper permits that will allow this is 6 - 8 months (it’s in a zone complicated by historic district and shoreline management area rules). This is almost unthinkable as he needs to open back up soon and get his employees back on their feet, or else. Meanwhile, the building sits idle.
My team of permitting consultants and I had a Zoom meeting with our Mayor’s office 2 weeks ago, to present our plans and plea for expediency with the County permit process. Not asking to skirt any rules, mind you, just that the highly bureaucratic process be hastened in any way possible. The meeting left me feeling sick to my stomach, and effectively squashed all hope that our local government might be capable of even a smidgen of empathy.
That evening, I lit up a fine-ass Siglo VI, and penned this:
The Man in Charge
A rule that applies, or a rule applied,
the first one takes some effort to discern.
I spoke with a man in charge today,
he seemed oblivious to my concerns.
I presented plans and proof of my integrity, on pages for review,
with borrowed gold, I hired men, to present my point of view.
6 moons and several days ago, this same man came to me,
he said our world had met with disarray, in just one night it seemed.
“A silent plague, much worse than death, is floating in the air,
sacrifice your friends and all you’ve worked for, don’t dwell on your despair”.
The science sound, my heart in pieces, I complied for the good of all,
I watched in helpless fervor, my clients and colleagues fall.
My only wish, as I lay fallow, is to prepare for days less dire,
to green my pastures, to fix past problems, with repairs overseers do require.
To the man I asked that my wish be considered, and my plan not be denied,
I suggested that sacrifices should be made by those on every side.
Instead I’m told, in words so cold, there’s little they will try,
for they are loyal to the flaws of rules, that they choose to just apply.
“It is what it is”, exclaimed the man, as he brushed my plea for help aside,
I now see the sacrifices, are to be made by just one side.