The street leading to my little part of the world has been in bad shape for some time now. Heaves in the road left parts of it three foot higher than other parts. Those of us without monster trucks quickly found that negotiating down the street was always more exciting than one would imagine a trip down a 20 mph residential road should be.
But after a while, you can get use to anything. So most of us reached the point where we knew when to swerve left, when to swerve right, and which puddles to avoid during breakup because they were so deep that they threatened to rip the bottom of your car out unless you were an SUV.
I had reached the point where I figured no one at City Hall would ever notice the problems of my little street and had resigned myself to living with it. But I had neglected to figure into the equation the fact that down the street from my modest little home is an enclave of not so modest little homes. I guess when your home is worth that much money, you have the ear of people whose names I don’t even know.
So lo and behold one day affixed to my door is a notice that the city has contracted to rip up the current street and replace it, complete with actual sidewalks. The suburbanization of South Anchorage drum rolls a step closer to completion. The letter announcing this was filled with useful information about how long the project was estimated to take, the inconveniences we might be expected to endure and the fact that at all times access for emergency vehicles would be maintained.
I have to say that the men in hard hats and those darling orange vests who wander the street amidst the humungous machines are certainly some of the politest people I have ever met. It’s just that on some days they seem as puzzled as I am at how I’m supposed to actually get to my little turn off. One day, I returned from the Bird Center to find that the road itself was six foot below the entrance to my circle with no ramp accessing it. This caused me to wonder just how high fire engines can jump.
After waiting about an hour while those very nice men scurried around building a ramp for me to use, I was finally able to get home. Unfortunately, the heat had already melted my frozen ice pops and some of my veggies looked very sad with sugar free cherry liquid running down them.
I think the most frightening part of this whole experience so far has been getting caught between two huge dump trucks. When you are driving a little Subaru, you worry that they won’t see you and may accidentally crush you – though if they did, I’m sure they would be as gracious as possible in apologizing for it. I have a flag on a long pole that I bought but never put on my tricycle. I’m thinking of mounting it on the back of the Subaru so that the next time I’m sandwiched in between them I’ll feel a little more assured that they can see me.
Walking my dog has also taken on a distinctly more challenging tone. To get to a walking path, I have to traverse the entire road of construction. If I feel small in my Subaru, I feel minuscule when it’s just me and my very little dog walking along on a roadway mostly inhabited by three story vehicles with scary devices hanging off their front ends. I’ve never been known as a runner but I must say I make it up the hill and out of the construction area at a jogger’s pace.
This construction is supposed to go on into the fall. Periodically there will be other little inconvenience such as the water being turned off. But the result should be a beautiful street with a sidewalk to match. The fact that the sidewalk has come at the expense of some neighbors’ lawns is regretful but I think I’ll be able to enjoy it anyway.
Meanwhile, to all those hard hats in those cute orange vests, I’m the old lady with the arthritic dog trying to beat the road grader up the hill to the safety of a sidewalk. You all seem like very nice people. You have all been unfailingly polite to me when I’ve panicked and had to be talked through driving down what you euphemistically refer to as the path to my house. Please don’t scare me with your big machines while I’m walking or my dog might not be the only one needing the plastic bag.