TO THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY Administration agent who riffled through my bag after I checked it at the Denver airport recently and headed to my gate:

Well…yes. Yes, those are my pantyhose. And how clever of you to have repositioned them so conspicuously atop my Brooks Brothers dress shirts — thankyouverymuch — so that when I later claimed and then at the hotel unzipped my bag I’d not miss the fact that you had discovered them.

Nevertheless, I can explain. It’s really not what you may think. Really. Not.

imageOn business travel, I always take along pantyhose. Or rather, my wife’s pantyhose. I mean, they were my wife’s…until they got runs in them and she shared them with me. I mean, well…not “shared” like that.

She passed them along to me because I use them — stick with me here — to shine my shoes. Honest. It’s a trick my dad taught me, something he learned in the Navy: Polyester … friction … heat … brings out the shine. You should try it sometime. Really.
And that’s my story. Funny, right? Not what you were thinking, right? Right?

• • •

Truth may occasionally be stranger than fiction, I’ve learned, but that’s more often the exception than the rule. And so it goes also with rumors, conspiracy theories, and first-blush judgments.

There’s almost always more to a story than meets the eye.

So, when some friendly TSA agent uncovers my pantyhose, I can’t help but chuckle (very nervously) at what conclusions he’s possibly drawn about me, absent any other information. (On the other hand, there’s likely not much he hasn’t seen as a bag screener, and could be that he stopped drawing conclusions ages ago. But still.)

Perceptions are based on personally available information. Not timely or accurate or reliable info. Available info. And in the absence of knowledge or information, we assume. We fill in the gaps. And as a result, we occasionally put businessmen in pantyhose.

That’s important for folks like me to remember — association types, who in the whirlwind of a potentially brilliant idea may fail sometimes to fully understand the audience we’re trying to reach or the need we’re trying to serve.

It’s important for folks like you to remember, too — practitioners who risk becoming wed to ways of doing business that occasionally, despite your best intentions, may not always serve the best interests of your customers and clients.

It’s in that vein that a select working group of VAR members came together two years ago to recommend significant changes to Virginia’s agency relationship and disclosure law — important changes that have now been enacted into Virginia law and take effect July 1.

These are not wild-hare, untested ideas, but rather are common-sense disclosures designed to bring more clarity and common understanding to real estate relationships.

Yet what may look to some of you like no big deal (it’s about time we required agreements in writing, you might say) looks to others like the end of real estate practice as we know it. And so it is, but ultimately in a good way, a way that protects you andconsumers.

To both camps, I say: Seek to understand not only the what of the new law, but also the why. Don’t assume it’s of no consequence or that it’s just another piece of regulation designed to complicate your life.

As with businessmen who travel with pantyhose, things become clearer when you get the facts.