Thursday, May 19, 2005

It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

There is a man that works at the local college that teaches classes in Historic Preservation. There is a curriculum there that you can get a 2 year degree in preservation. This person also writes a column in the monthly insert called Restore & Preserve in the local paper. He is also a member of the Historic Preservation Committee. Because of all of the work I’m doing on my house I am familiar with his name and read his column every month. Until a few weeks ago I had never met him.

In his column he often writes that if anyone has any questions please feel free to call him or send him an email. He says he loves to talk about old buildings and is happy to help. Yada, yada, yada. Just after I bought my house there was something that confused me about the layout of the house. It wasn’t anything too technical about construction or structural rehab, but more a question about historical context. I won’t go in to it here, but it was about the kitchen. Anyway, I wrote him an email and weeks went by with no response. A couple of months later the issue arose again and I had just read his column so I called him this time. He seemed hurried on the phone and said he really didn’t have time to talk and he took my number and said he would call back. He never did. I was a little perturbed, but nothing major, and I kind of forgot about.

The first time I actually met him was a few weeks ago at the Historic Preservation Committee meeting when I was listing my house on the local register. I had written a lot about my house and he had more than a few questions for me at the meeting. He asked more questions by far than any one of the 6 committee members. I am an armature at this and he corrected some of the things I wrote. It is was fine with me because I knew some of it was inaccurate and I enjoy learning. Anyway, after the meeting I wanted to follow up with him on some of the things he brought up. I am planning on using this information when trying to list my house on the National Register and I wanted to get it right. I sent another email.

Remembering the last time I tried to contact him, I was very specific in this email. I asked 3 questions and I asked them in a way that he could almost answer all three with one word responses. Several weeks have gone by with no response. Last night I went to a gathering of old house enthusiast at a friends house and he was there. He came up to me and said that he got my email and that we should get together and talk. I felt like saying, “Just answer the stupid email”, but I didn’t. I arrived late and there were a lot of people there and I never really got a chance to talk with him before dinner and the presentation.

He was there giving a presentation on The Secretary of the Interior’s Guide To Historic Preservation. At the end of the presentation he said that he loves to talk with people about there projects and encouraged every one to call him or email him with questions. He even suggested people could swing by his house if they wanted to. I wasn’t sure what to think.

Then today, I ran in to him at the market down the street. A very odd coincidence. We were in line at the check-out together. He was at the cashier and I was 2 people back. I reached over and tapped him on the shoulder with my baguette and we started to talk. He was dealing with the cashier so I didn’t get in to anything too deep. We chatted briefly and as he was walking out he turned and said, “Um, oh, let’s see, I have your email address. I’ll get in touch with you and we can get together.”

I’m not sure what to think. Does he expect me to ask him for a professional evaluation of my house? That is not really what I’m interested in and I never hinted at it. I doubt he connects me with that 10 second phone call 3 years ago. I just asked three little questions in my recent email. One question was just the proper spelling of an architectural term he brought up at the Preservation Meeting that I can not find in any books. Why would you repeatedly encourage people to call you and email you and then never return their calls or emails. It just doesn’t make sense. It is very irritating.


Jocelyn said...

That does sound pretty annoying. He sounds kind of socially clueless (not to be unkind) or maybe he's trying to get business as you suspected. Some people are bad with email, but then why would be suggest to people to email?
It's certainly curious behavior.

Kasmira said...

Maybe he has dual personalities? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Jason said...

Very annoying.

You're probably going to have to get his work or home address and encounter him there in order to get what you want.