A Tale of Sidewalks
Topic: Indianapolis Living
I was pretty enthused one bright, sunny Saturday, when a man came 'round with flyers for each house. "You'll be getting new sidewalks" he said, and handed me a leaflet detailing where not to park durinife of the project. "Great!" I said, thanking the man as he went on his way. I had noticed that vivid painted marks had appeared on the street and up the neighborhood driveways and figured something was up. This confirmed my suspicions.
Within the next few days, large machines appeared on our street and almost magically, sections of the sidewalk on one side of the road were reduced to rubble. Lots of rubble. As in piles of debris larger than your average mini-van kind of rubble.
Not only was there rubble, but great trenches were dug - not just where the new sidewalk would go, but deep into the yards of my neighbors. Sometimes the gorges would run several feet into the property, decimating any greenery that was once there.
"Surely they'll clean that up. Surely they will repair the yards with fresh new dirt and sod," I thought, and waited for the day when my long deteriorated front walk would meet its end.
The end came with a furious beeping of some bucket-ended yellow machine of doom and the ragged cracking of a piston hammer. I tried to remain optimistic about the damage being wrought to my front yard. I tried to not care about the grass that I worked so hard to get to grow earlier in the year, as it was now gone and its place was a deep, empty valley that spread across the front of my house.
But then, the branches started coming down.
I have several mature trees that line the edge of my corner lot. One had its roots taken up a bit. Another had several minor branches come down as wheeled leviathans scrapped the upper edges of the foliage. And then another, just simply had the holy fuck torn out of it.
A branch thicker than my leg, longer than I am tall, was laid low by something that was not human. The limb was split where it met the trunk and a great gash now runs vertical from where it had torn away by some nameless dread.
As you can imagine, this made me sad. Because I know jack-shit about caring for trees.
Then came the trash; a pvc pipe here, a heavy wooden dowel there. It started to pile up along the edges of the bright new sidewalk. Long after the crews were done filling my trenches with soil (taken from the mound of fill dirt that suddenly appeared in my neighbors side-yard), long after the orange and white barrels had been removed and the sidewalk gnomes had moved to the other side of the street – their crap was still in my yard.
Another line was crossed when I came home one day to find debris from a broken window piled up at the corner of my lot. A pile of tempered glass had been gathered up and long black strips of rubber sealer lay coiled around the stop sign that stands on my property; glass still sticking to the ropey lengths. This wasn't stripping from a car – this was stripping from one of the various bucket-ended vehicles I'd mentioned before. These jackanapes had incurred a broken window, removed all of the crap from the machine, and left their mess there for who knows what reason.
So I shoved it all over by the fill-dirt pile that now spilled over into the street. Along with the sudden appearance of planks of wood, tree limbs and more orange and white barrels, this area was looking more like a dumping ground than anything. I threw on some leather gloves and piled all of their trash over by their stuff. Since it was theirs. And not mine. Mixed in with the broken glass and window stripping were other nameless bits of machinery parts underneath it all, which makes me wonder just what the hell happened.
I wish I could provide an ending to this story, but there really isn't one. The crews have finished both sides of the street and are working on the southern corners of the intersection. Saturday they were out putting in bricks to reinforce the corners (as far as I can tell). We still have bare dirt where there was once grass, but I think they swept up some of the glass from their broken window.
To top it all off, they put my stop sign in crooked. Sheesh.
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