10 November 2013

Construction Redux

By the pricking of my thumbs ... something wicked this way comes.
Wheelbarrow about to suffer death by crushing?
They're back again, for the extended fourth year of their sold-out performance, the whole rootin' tootin' gang of sons a guns. The hydro guys, the city guys, the bulldozers, backhoes, pile drivers, jackhammers, riveters, and a crane too. There may be a master plan of the main act somewhere, mayhap tucked in the back pocket of some engineer's jeans, but what do we humble observers know.

Many images are taken from my dirty windows. Management can't clean the windows because the filth sneaks everywhere all the time.

Craven management is often absent, taking sick days.
Act IV, Scene II:
Some of them carefully measure things and after ten days of futzing around we see cement boxes appear in the dirt holes. We conjecture the boxes might be for the new trees we all hope we live long enough to see. Apart from the dirt holes and cement boxes, the entire sidewalk is an obstacle course of old pavement chunks interspersed with sunken dirt. The banshee noise continues at intervals; just when you think it's gone it attacks your central nervous system again. Trucks and worker guys come and go at a snail's pace because naturally they don't want to fall into a hole.

Progress is difficult to guage. Each stage of the project meets a point of temporary abandonment where we think this it it: this is the ultimate bare face of our twenty-first century urban life. Get used to it. Why on earth were we ever expecting clean, level sidewalks one day, with a few shade trees? Oh. An architect specializing in sidewalks has supplemented the latest gang, we are told. Who makes the worker guys rip out the cement boxes they just finished installing - oops, another little measurement fail. We call it square one again. Square one for like the fifteenth time.

Act IV, Scene III:
Then. One morning the usual noise racket changes to the oddest booming hiss. The fire department announces we have a gas leak, some worker asshole has broken the gas main. In front of our entrance. Well, it's one way to eliminate a lot of problem geriatrics. Evacuation is not ordered as yet.

Last heard, no heat, no hot water, no ... air? No applause. And yet, we are fairly confident that our future includes numerous encores. Man up and carry on, residents.

Should this mighty soap opera ever end, some of us may well have been tortured enough to start missing the hardhats and fluorescent jackets; a little Stockholmian moment? Students specializing in sidewalk psychology: apply here for internship.  

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