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Tuesday, August 07, 2012
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Lorenzo and Lupita don’t work here anymore
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Locard’s exchange theory
Around the turn-of-the-century, there was a famous French criminologist. His name was Emile Locard. Most folks have never heard of him. But, if you’re a fan of some of the popular TV crime dramas like “CSI” or “Law and Order” or any of those other shows that focus on forensic investigations, you’re familiar with Mssr. Locard’s work.
It was way back in the day that Locard came up with “Locard’s Exchange Principle.” Named it after himself and everything. Like Murphy and his “Law.” You think of it, you get to name it!
It was Locard who believed that at every crime scene an “exchange” takes place. Every criminal takes something. Every criminal leaves something behind. It’s inherent.
The TV shows focus on it all the time. The high-tech crime labs in the TV shows prove it. A hair follicle. Some skin cells under a fingernail. A drop of blood. A pebble. The smell of perfume or aftershave. A fingerprint. Chemical residue. Something leaves the scene. Something is left at the scene.
Modern philosophy extends that a little further.
Anyone who goes into a room and leaves a room, inadvertently leaves a little bit of themselves in the room and takes something of the room with them. Dust…dandruff…pet hair…or let’s get really touchy-feely-esoteric…a memory…a smell…
Locard’s principle in action. An “exchange” is always taking place. Something leaves. Something is left behind.
I believe we can carry it even further.
I see it every day. It’s not on purpose. But, the “exchange” takes place nonetheless.
People come here to Baja on vacation. The exotic Mexican fishing trip with family, friends or loved ones.
Maybe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Maybe it’s a regular yearly holiday. For a few days or weeks, folks come down. They “pass through” as it were. Through another country. Another culture. Another way of living.
They leave with the usual. Maybe a cooler of fish. A t-shirt or two. A funny hat. A necklace from a beach vendor. A sunburn. Five extra pounds from too many tacos. A hangover. A digital camera full of photos.
And those are just the tangible items.
They carry away with them memories and thoughts. Ideas and perspectives. Smiles and knowledge. Laughs, discoveries and grins. The things you can’t put a price or a finger on.
It’s why people travel. It’s why they go on vacations.
But, I think few folks think about what they leave behind when they depart for home. Locard’s Exchange Principle continues to hum right along.
When you head home, you forget that, you didn’t just leave some vacation money back here in Mexico. You left a little bit of yourself as well.
In your wake you leave impressions as well as memories.
Were you respectful of the language? The people? Were you a drunken idiot?
Did you leave as many smiles as you took? Did you try to interact or did you adopt an “us” and “them” attitude? Did you forget basic courtesies?
I have had dozens of employees over the years. They have worked for me as captains, deckhands, drivers, waiters, cooks, cashiers, guides and numerous other positions. They talk to me quite often about such-and-such a guest or client. I hear them talk among themselves about tourists in general and in particular.
Much of it is great. They really enjoy the meetings and interactions. Some of it is plain amusing. Some of it makes me grimace and cringe.
A good example isd my panga captains. Many have been with me 8, 10, 14, 15 years or more. They have a remarkable memory for some clients they see maybe every few years or every other year.
They often ask if Mr. So-and-So will be coming back. They remember who tipped and who didn’t. They remember those who said thank you or wanted a picture with them. They remember who took the time to bring down a baseball for their kid or left a nice pair of fishing pliers as a gift. They remember the fun day fishing and talking about mutual families. Smiles are universal.
My waiters and drivers are the same way. They may not remember names, but they remember faces and families and couples.
They remember which kids and parents were courteous and who was “high maintenance” and who had the wife who loved to sing and which little girl gave a hug. And they remember the guy who never stopped bragging about how rich he was “back in ‘America’ and how ‘you people’ have everything backwards.”
Oh yes…they remember.
Even I have to constantly remind myself. Something gets taken. Something gets left behind.
Hopefully, I leave more smiles with each passing day. Hopefully, I take a new good lesson with me to bed at night after a long day. Or some new memories. Hopefully, I left a good thought or impression or someone learned something from me as well.
I try. Locard was a criminologist. He was right. It’d be a crime passing through life without taking and leaving something good. Take a gift. Leave a gift.
Posted By Sally On 08/21/2012 At 11:10 AM
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