Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Saturday, November 1, 2008


"The inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind."
-Walter Bagehot

It began three weeks ago, commencing at seven thirty each morning. At least, one might offer, the men were on time for work, which is admirable.
They were accompanied by diggers and drills and tools to be used on the stretch of road that runs beside our apartment. Spouse is routinely awake and carrying out the chores of the day before the sun rises. I frequently favour fragments of a nap before Spouse goes to work and my day begins in earnest.
The workers were splitting the ground open, so it stands to reason that a degree of noise would ensue. But I hardly knew that walls could tremble so much, that glass could hum the way ours did when the machines plundered through the surface of the road.
Worst of all, no rhythm could be salvaged from the cacophony, no sequence that I could distinguish. I long ago discovered how to sleep even on nights when anxious dogs seek to disrupt the peace with howling and barking: I decipher the pattern- there is always one to be found- and fall in step with the uniformity.
Shrill sounds do not keep me from my sleep, but erratic peals and arbitrary commotion will destroy any chance of rest. Our apartment suffered the worst, I suspect, due to its proximity to the road.
Mercifully, as the days progressed the workers gradually edged along the street with their equipment, out of hearing range at least for me. They vanished altogether last week, taking with them their bulldozers and cables and cruel contraptions.
All was hushed, and it was welcomed.
But I was jarred with a jolt out of my dormancy yesterday morning, certain I had awoken to a catastrophe in the neighbourhood. It was shortly after dawn and the same fellows were there as though they had never left. And they were, to my complete bewilderment, hammering resolutely away at the very same spot they had just spent two weeks shattering and repairing, as though there were no other plot of land in all the world that needed to be mended.


Pappy said...

Who knows the ways of those road crew workers. After coffee, they spend an hour or two putting out bright orange plastic cones. Then they confer for a while in their irridescent vests while leaning on a variety of long handled tools. By then it is time for their mid-morning break and all the equipment is abandoned until they return. No wonder they returned to your door. You are more long suffering than the rest of the community who probably complained to the mayor. Hope you fell back last night. I forgot, so I am sitting here alone at the computer wondering what to do with this "extra" hour. Pappy

julochka said...

i kept thinking this would be about robocalls. :-) i imagine they're really annoying too!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, thanks for your reminder. I was sitting down to breakfast at the computer, at what I thought was 10:30, and your comment prompted me to check the time and tell Spouse, who was feeling like the day was slipping away, the good news. Better than the other way around! Hurray! An extra hour. I'm glad of it.

Julie, we haven't had any robocalls- I'd be bashing furiously away at the keyboard to tell everyone if I had ;) I wouldn't take one of those quietly! The diggers have gone now, but I imagine they will be back tomorrow morning bright and early and loud.

Jaime said...

It's funny how they always start work at some horribly early time in the morning and spend the majority of the day on coffee breaks.

What's up with that??

Do you think they buried something by accident under that new piece of road and had to dig it up once again?

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, yes- they would stop often, but starting so early would ruin my day. I need peace in the morning!
Your suggestion is a likely one- I wonder what they might have gone back for? Earplugs, perhaps. They certainly needed them.

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