In our last installment of the Havamal, I sort of declare that it was aimed at .... a business traveler. Doesn't matter it the traveler is a trader or raider, I suppose, ultimately, the point is to return richer than when you set out. So, where does the text take us now?
The man who stands at a strange threshold
Should be cautious before he cross it.
Glance this way and that:
Who knows beforehand what foes may sit
Awaiting him in the hall?
Greetings to the host,
The guest has arrived,
In which seat shall he sit?
Rash is he who at unknown doors
Relies on his good luck.
Well, what do you know - it sound like skills from the Ninjitsu training I had! Situational awareness - scope out your surroundings at all times. Especially in a group of people you are meeting for the first time, you will not know all the alliances, and certainly not all the history.
We were rather in that situation a year ago, when we moved. Among our neighbors, who were the power brokers? Would the HOA really enforce the rules on garbage cans, and if so, who would be reporting violations? What families don't get along? Scoping out the hidden alliances and sand traps was necessary!
Our approach - rely on courtesy, our operating motto "Don't embarrass the neighbors". Keep the yard neat, help neighborhood upkeep, wave at every car we pass/passes the house if we're outside.
It's also our business approach, but more on that in a few verses.
Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb,
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells.
Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Handclothes and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
that he may tell his tale.
The ball is back in the host's court here. Hosts have responsibilities. Hang up their coats. Show them to the restroom. Get them a cup of coffee, or meal or whatever the situation is. And then scope the guest out!
The assorted rights and responsibilities of guests and hosts are very much like the handshaking done by the machines when you send a fax. They make sure that everyone is using a communication platform that works at both ends.
While you're at it, check their company's D&B listing.
More in our next installment!