The talent for deduction starts with what you can observe. Now I use the term observation instead of see, because seeing things is sort of passive. You can spend all day seeing plenty but never apply meaning or description to what you see. In this short post I wanted to explore a little bit of observation and deduction to learn a little bit about a house I saw on my way to work.
Look At The Broad Picture
The first things I see in this photograph are the big things. I see the ornate iron fence, the trash receptacle, the grass, the vehicles in the driveway, and the sense of greenery. Now I need to take those big picture things and look at them specifically to find details. I use this information to deduce what I can about my neighbor. Now, what I don’t want to do is make deductions BEFORE I gather the data. So I am making no assumptions, just filling in my observation sheet.
Making deductions isn’t hard, but often times they can feel elusive because we don’t know what we are looking for. So before after you have made observations, start filling in information about what your observations tell you. This could be things like, ‘what kind of income does this person have?’, ‘how long has this item been here?’, ‘what is the usage of the item’? Questions, questions, questions. You need to ask good questions to form deductions.
Receptacle - What Do I See?
I see the Santek label on a sturdy grey bin. It has wheels, a lid that can open and close, as well as a handle of some kind. On the wheels and portions of the bin, I notice there is also some dirt attached.
Fence - What Do I See?
The fence is made up of iron. Some of it painted black, some of it painted a rust color. More specifically, the large stakes are painted rust and the smaller ones that sit in between them are painted black. On the main gate, there are two dogs pointing at each other and are painted white. The small stakes on the gate are painted white at their tips. Additionally, there are four red reflectors on the gate. There are two columns made of bricks or slate. They have sandstone appearance to them. At the top of the fence there seems to be a small light post.
Greenery/Nature - What Do I See?
To the left on the picture, it looks like there is an oak or pine tree. Additionally, I do see grass as well as dirt on the street and the driveway.
Driveway/House - What Do I See?
Besides the dirt driveway, I see at least two vehicles. There is a large Dodge 3500, and some kind of off road vehicle to its left. In the picture, I don’t really see the house to well but it also has a similar rust/orange color that the fence post has, although it is a little lighter.
It's time to exercise your deductive skills. The challenge begins here. For each of the topics above, spend some time thinking about what information you can extract from the observations that we have made.
Forming The Deduction
If we do a simple search, we can find the company Santek. It’s a residential and commercial waste retrieval company. The bins are “95-gallon rolling cart” according to the website. The bill for this company amounts to about $120 every 2 months. The “rolling cart” gets picked up weekly by a garbage truck. At the bottom of the cart, we see a lot of dirt that has been splashed on the bin. Dirt doesn’t really travel up without help from the wind or rain. We can presume that the dirt splashed onto the bin during a rain storm. We could conclude that the dirt on the road in front of the bin, came from the bin, but there is still plenty of dirt still on the bin towards the bottom. Rain comes from above and moves down. If it was from the bin, surely the rain would have washed drip lines into the dirt at the bottom of the bin. We also note that the dirt is on the wheels. The coverage is complete. This is suggestive that the dirt was acquired from rolling. So the dirt on the bin likely came from another location. The yard must have dirt in it that is loose and splashed onto the bin, as well as was tracked onto the wheels.
A gate isn’t a cheap thing to purchase. It requires the materials as well as the permit. The work of the iron looks good and the gate looks professionally done. It is of interest that the person chose to put dog silhouettes on the fence. It’s embellishment to a pretty attractive fence. We can conclude the person likes dogs. Maybe they own one or wish to own one.
The truck that is visible in the driveway is a newer looking Dodge Ram 3500. The price for this truck is about $35-60,000. The monthly payments for a vehicle like this might be something like $700 a month, plus full coverage which might be close to $350 or so. If we add up the gas from a diesel vehicle that has a tank of 31-32 gallons. If the driver filled up once a month they might be looking at $93 for gas. Total cost for truck with the assumption that gas is only put in once a month and at a price of $3 a gallon, we get $1,143. This is just one of the vehicles we see. Additionally, the cost for housing, utilities, groceries, etc… we can conclude that the owner of this house has to make more than $1,143 a month to live on. This of course can lead us to speculate about what type of job they have that allows them to afford an expensive vehicle or perhaps requires such a big truck.