Unfinished Business

Permit me, if you will, to rant about an example of the kind of thing that drives me up a wall about government.

Some weeks ago, work was begun on the brickwork at the intersection of Lynn Alley and Third Street.  The bricks were torn up and moved, the dreaded skinny, miniature orange barrels were set up, a sign was posted, yellow tape was strung, and what formerly seemed to be a perfectly good, serviceable sidewalk was wrecked.


No one knows.  But we would have been willing to accept it, gladly, if only the repair work had been promptly completed.

But, of course, it wasn’t.  It has been weeks now, and the same pile of bricks remains unmoved, and the same crappy orange barrels and unsightly yellow tape and collapsed sign block the right-of-way.  Some bricks have been laid, imperfectly, on part of the sidewalk, and all of the luckless pedestrians have to inch their way through the one point of passage that remains.

Seriously?  In all of Columbus, Ohio, is there no one who can finish the damned job?  It’s not even a major job, just a matter of placing a few bricks and removing the yellow tape and appalling orange barrels.  Are there no bricklayers in Columbus who can competently recreate the perfectly adequate brickwork that was there before?  Is there no city employee, elected official, or urban planner who feels even a whiff of pity for the poor downtown workers who must squeeze by this stupid, apparently permanent roadblock and eyesore just because some worker or supervisor doesn’t care enough to finish what they started?

As I said, this is the kind of thing that drives me up a wall.  And it’s so totally unnecessary!

With The Pre-Dawn Crickets

Some nights, I just don’t get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll doze off for small, fitful chunks of time, have an unsettled dream, wake up with the wisps of the dream already fading, a racing heartbeat, and a dose of heartburn, look at the clock with a groan, and then try again.  Usually in the 4 a.m. time frame I jolt awake, give up on trying any more, and decide I might as well start the day.

IMG_7166When that happens, as it unfortunately did this morning, I like to open the windows, let the cool morning air wash in, look out the windows at the street light and empty sidewalks, and listen to the crickets against the blanketing backdrop of silence.  4 a.m. may be an out-of-joint time for us humans, but it seems to be prime time for the crickets.

It’s odd, but we seem to have far more cricket sound in our new semi-urban house in German Village, with its tiny gardens and yards separating buildings that are only a few feet apart, than we ever had in our suburban home in the rolling, white-fenced countryside of New Albany.  Perhaps the cricket noise is just more noticeable in the pre-dawn quiet in this place and setting, where we expect to hear people walking past and the sounds of cars rattling down the brick-paved streets.

I’d always prefer a sound sleep, of course, but when it just doesn’t happen it makes no sense to fight the reality, tossing and turning and becoming snarled in twisted sheets and blankets.  Far better to get up, enjoy the skin-tingling gusts of cool air that waft through the opened windows, appreciate the darkness and solitude, and try to develop a zen-like attitude and reflect on the world during a time of great calm.  The cricket symphony in the background helps.