Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Refreshingly Innocent Greensburg, Indiana

I have a client in the small town of Greensburg, Indiana, located on I-74 halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. 10,260 people officially call Greensburg home according to the 2000 census. And it's one of the many American burgs (in this case, literally a "burg") that I find myself traveling to on business. I am always interested in the people I meet and how they feel, how they live, their attitude toward life, and how they get along with their neighbors.

I struck the jackpot in Greensburg, Indiana! I found a wonderful community of nice people who haven't lost their sense of humor to the political correctness of our times. Here are some examples:

Last night I attended a shift turnover meeting at a large factory here between 2nd & 3rd shifts at 11:00 pm. The 13-person crew at one work center was composed of 6 females and 7 males. As I walked up, one of the older guys on the team was loudly and good-naturedly teasing one of the younger women (all could hear) about her soon completing her Physician’s Assistant schooling, saying how much he was looking forward to the prostate exams she would be giving him! As he said it, he wiggled his bottom around with a big toothy grin on his face, eyes rolling up into his head. My jaw dropping at his outrageous slapstick, I saw this as a career-ending gaffe, and I cringed, expecting an artic chill from all the women present—and certainly a formal HR complaint. I needn’t have worried: His very off-color remark was received by raucous and instantaneous laughter by everyone, including the woman to whom it was directed! They all had tears in their eyes before they stopped laughing.

This morning at a different turnover meeting in the same plant at 7:00 am with an entirely different group in another work center, the 1st shift Team Lead dutifully and seriously went through the key operating indicators on his Lean Visual Display Board (an integral part of most lean manufacturing systems). He was met with good questions and comments from his 11-person crew as they prepared for their work day. I was the only person present who was stunned and horrified that the Team Lead calming conducting his review was wearing a tee shirt with a large picture of a Dachshund sitting up on its hind legs next to a caption that boldly read, “My Wiener Does Tricks.”

I don't endorse the behavior or seek to roll back the clock on 50 years of social progress, but I could not help thinking: How wonderfully innocent and refreshing! The good people of Greensburg, Indiana actually LIKE and TRUST each other. They aren’t cynical, negative, or pessimistic. They watch the same TV programs and news reports we all do, and they read the same newspaper stories, yet they haven't learned to take themselves too seriously.

No wonder Greensburg, Indiana is the city chosen by Honda for their next U.S. plant, the construction of which is already underway out in the middle of the corn fields on U.S. 421.


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