Lately I've taken to calling the odd, uncategorized and sometimes uncategorizeable tasks at work "rain dogs". They're the lost tasks, the things that someone meant to do sometime, maybe, and they've lost their way home. Who knows? Maybe once, long ago, a well-meaning person set out to get something done, and they got that thing to be done entered in the project plan, and then years passed and the project moved on and the person moved on, but the task remained. And we look at the task and the task looks at us, and that's just how it is. Impasse. How did you get here? Where is your home?
No one knows. But the task lives on—a weird stray living on the margins of the project, never done because there is no will to do it, never erased because there is no will to remove it. It lingers, alive and unloved, until the project closes.
No one at work listens to Tom Waits, so I'm kind of alone on this one.
"...You see all these dogs out on the street looking lost. They kind of look up at you like: `'scuse me sir, can you, uh, ... (deep voice) can you help me? 'cause the rain has washed away all the scents; the way they got wherever they got. So they can't find their way back home." (Source: "Enigmatic Waits survives, thrives" The San Diego Union-Tribune. By Rip Rense. November 1, 1985)
The version from Big Time (1988) is my favorite. It growls.