The paving news


It’s been raining since last night and will continue at least past lunchtime, and a spectacular bora has kept the blinds rattling all day.  Gusts up to 30 mph (50 k/h).  In pipe-replacement-street-tearing-up-crew language this translates as “Day off.”

The silence is eerie.  It’s like the silence of the songbirds.  I can’t say I miss their racket, in the sense that I wish I were hearing it right now, but it is strangely unsettling.

Yesterday the concert was especially intense.  To the usual hammering and clunking and yelling they added sneezing, hawking, spitting, and belching.  One of them occasionally even sang a little.

Lino says they must have been feeling the impending drastic change in the weather, like horses before an earthquake.

As if that weren’t good enough, some kind of supervisor came to review their work — I think that’s what he was doing — which provided a bellowing voice louder than theirs.  He wasn’t happy about something.  I couldn’t understand what, but I gathered that their performance evaluation was being summarized in one particularly ugly phrase which he repeated at least 723 times.

Or maybe he was commenting on the way they had concluded their work on the little street stretching from our front door to the main thoroughfare.  It now lists, like a clumsily loaded boat.  In fact, the first thing Lino said when we walked down it was: “They could at least have made it level.”

You may think I'm the one who's listing to port, but I intentially included the door at the end of the tunnel to give some notion of relative horizonality.

So now when we leave the house, we list to starboard, and coming home, we list to port.  What is unfortunate is that it slopes toward our hovel, meaning the rainwater will slide toward our foundations, if we have any.  There are two drains, which is good, and after all, I realize that rainwater shouldn’t be sliding away from them.  So all I have to do is keep them unclogged.  Since nobody else does.

Does the quality of life in every city come down to drains?

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Categories : Venetian-ness


  1. Robin Hilliard says:

    I live on the Wet Coast (not a typo) of Canada. We sometimes have rain for 40 days and 40 nights. I remember driving home during such a downpour and remarking to my Beau of the moment how lucky we were to live in an apartment on the crest of a hill with no basement to worry about flooding. We opened our front door to an inch of water on the floor and water pouring through the ceiling. The bathroom sink pipe of the unoccupied suite above us had burst. We had to break down the door and shut the water off…smugness punished!

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      What a ghastly story (and I’ll be you didn’t start laughing and saying “Gosh, I was just saying we’d never have water on the floor.” I agree that smugness about anything invites a smack from the forces that be. But why would the downpour have had any effect on the bathroom sink pipe? Please explain so I can be sure to avoid it.

      • Robin Hilliard says:

        The downpour did not cause the pipe to burst. The water-related smug remark caused the pipe to burst.

        I neglected to mention that at that time in our history (Vancouver’s, that is) the Fraser River was washing away bridges and roads that had been built on the alluvial plain. Much complaining and finger pointing was going on at the time. Plus property owners were losing large portions of manicured lawn and having to sandbag their basements. I felt sorry only for the livestock stranded on hillocks that had become islands in the flood and included them in my prayers at the time.

        Of course, as a tax payer, the shortsightedness of past municipal/provincial engineering decisions affected me, too, but only in that taxes on gasoline probably did a spike in order to pay for the rebuilding and repairs.

        • Erla says:

          Gad. There’s just no getting ahead of, staying on top of, or detouring around the insanity in the world. I’m convinced that it’s the emissions of craziness, not greenhouse gases, which is causing global warming.

  2. Randy Bosch says:

    Yes, “slope to drain” is good, unless it is to your door! In North America, the culs-de-sac of new development streets are designed to the turning radius of trash trucks and fire trucks, but drainage remains #1.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      I believe drainage is a major concern of highway builders, as well. It probably concerns everybody but the intrepid workers outside. We did just fine getting rid of the water when the street was level.