(Imagine me with a long blade of wheat dangling out my mouth, can of Schlitz in my hand, leaning on a splintered wooden fence…)
“Yessir, them are some dang big trucks.”
(and now, imagine me, in cargo shorts, carrying my four-year-old daughter, a bag of groceries, and herding my son up a very steep gravel hill as he carries a lighter bag of groceries.)
“Those are some big trucks — and they’re not moving. Nope, not moving a bit.”
(and now, imagine the inside of my mind, and what I wanted to say as, I, in cargo shorts, carrying a four-year-old, a bag of groceries, and herding my son up a very steep gravel hill as he carries a lighter bag of groceries.)
“Those @#$%% trucks haven’t %&#@&# moved a @#$@#$@ inch, but we need to #@$@#$ our @#$@#$ all over the @#$#@$@$ place just so they can sit there @#$@% parked, doing @#$@% nothing!”
(but, since I was carrying my four-year-old and walking beside my seven-year-old, I showed restraint and through gritted teeth expressed a more positive appreciation for these big stinkin’ trucks.)
“Boy howdy, those are some large pieces of machinery. And look how yellow they are? It would be something to get squished by one of those, huh? Imagine one of those things working its way towards you and as you try to get out of the way, you trip, or better yet, you’re pant leg gets caught on one of the pieces of piping that THEY didn’t clear out — and it ends up snagging you and literally pulling you down as this big machine makes you and the earth one.”
I realized then, that my kids were staring at me with wide eyes, wondering what Daddy was talking about…and if every yellow truck could squish them and if they weren’t safe walking these roads anymore, and if men in hard hats and orange vests could be trusted and was it only leftover piping that was dangerous or could any old piping rise from the earth like a cobra and strike you down?
“…to school, 5 miles, in the snow, every day…”
Okay, I’ve grown a bit soft. I should be happy that the entire complex that we live in is being re-paved. (I wasn’t sure if this was part of the Federal Bailout Money for Urban Projects — re-paving my apartment complex, but the whole town seems to be getting a fresh coat of black syrupy topping over all of its roads. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as many steamrollers…not that I’ve ever been on a hunt for them.) The problem we’re running into is this “we’ll be done in a week” thing. I know better. I usually, at least, double and triple these sorts of estimates. Well, welcome to week 6 of having to jockey the cars around by 7:30 “or you will be towed at owner’s expense” (the joke’s on them, my mom is still the official owner of my car — it’s her name on the title. Actually, it’s not true, my parents “sold” us their car for a $1. I get towed, I get walloped. My mom’s name is clean.) The shuffling of the cars, the car relocation according to the impending paving zones, and then the hikes, with groceries, with kids, with a song in my heart and sweat on my brow.
6 weeks and counting…
“So, if they said they’d be done in one week, and they haven’t finished in six weeks…how many more times are they late?”
“How many times are they late?”
“Yes, but are they two times later than they thought, or, three times, or…”
“You mean they need to be somewhere?”
“No. No, they need to be finished with the paving.”
“Daddy, is this about the evil creatures that are going to grab us and hold us down until a steamroller smooshes us?”
“No, I am trying to use this as a teaching moment. Multiplication.”
“It’s 6. Six times as long. The answer is 6.”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
The Parking Lot Not Taken
Two spaces diverged by a yellow line,
And sorry I could not fit in both
And be one car, long I idled
And looked down one to squeeze and sidle.
To where it bent next to that old Plymouth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was smooth and wanted park;
Though as for that the parking spot
Had worn them really quite a lot.
And both that morning equally lay
‘Tween parallels no tire had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how park leads on to park,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two spaces diverged on a lot, and I—
I took the one less trued and tried,
And that has shown my common sense.
(Sorry, Mr. Frost, but this parking thing is really stuck in my craw.)
$60 a month.
We rent a space that is our space that is reserved for us for all those in doubt — the one on the hill, nearest to our apartment — we shell out sixty clams a month to have that as our private roofless stable for our Subaru. Yet…
Construction vans, Pela Window Service trucks, UPS, FedEx, Maintenance, Plumbers, Butchers, Bakers, and Candlestick makers and yes, a golf cart have all taken residency at one time or another on our dime (or, if I wanted to torment my son with more “fun with math,” 600 dimes.) If I had the time (and the permit) I’d sit in an old rocker with a double barreled shotgun just a rockin’ and and rockin’ just mindin’ my own peace, watchin’ over my spot, to see that there’s no tresspassin’ goin’ on.
Nothin’ like a parade.
So, day by day, we see roads get torn up, gravel laid down, and a parade of big yellow trucks, scoop, scrape and flatten a roadway that really didn’t need anything done to it in the first place. Maybe the cars will know the difference. Maybe we’re doing our part to help the infrastructure of our roadways, one cul-de-sac at a time. Maybe all these trucks are lost, and instead of asking for directions, they’d just as soon pave something.
Whatever the case, I’ll enjoy the gravel for now and pretend we’re walking on newly cleared roads en route to a neighboring village. Either that, or I’ll just wait until some leftover piping grabs hold while I’m walking to get the mail, squeezing my ankle tight until the big wheel comes and does its part.