04 May 2007

My Town, Good and Bad

This might be a small thing, but I have to mention it. Over the past seven years, I have had to get original birth, marriage and death certificates several times. My local Demographic Registry office is on the second floor of the Municipal Hospital, now in private hands. Although parking can sometimes be a little difficult and one now walks through the Emergency waiting room to get to the Registry office, not once has it taken Me more than 10 minutes to get any number of certificates.

Not once. The Registry is connected to a central database so that practically any request for a local certificate can be served. The procedure is fast and with one exception (a computer malfunction), every certificate was handed to Me within 2-3 minutes. How gratifying is that?

On the other hand, take Carbonell Hell, the main street "repair" job I mentioned back in July of last year. Almost ten months later it is still under construction, having undergone the following:

--A fallow period that lasted until the first day of school--just as predicted--when a work brigade with several pieces of equipment blocked the street during the heaviest traffic periods.

--Four months of mainly cosmetic work (literally sweeping, replacing the orange barrels, filling in ruts, painting the curbside[!], then tearing out the curbside--I kid thee not--to "expand" the street again) followed by a Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's-Valentine's Day vacation period.

--Concrete dividers were set up to narrow traffic at the "downtown" curve and the already-repaired street was torn up again, a process that moved back towards the the main highway, including two deep trenches and two narrow ruts. The trenches are now covered with heavy steel plates and the ruts are open, creating axle-wrenching, dust-spewing traps. All this marvelously inexplicable construction carried out--of course--solely during daytime traffic.

In short, Carbonell Street is more gutted than it was last July and possibly further from completion by any measurable standard. Just two weeks ago a digging machine was carving out a 12-foot hole three coffins wide. I walked over to the hole, ignoring every wave and shout to stay out of the work area and looked down.

Nothing. No pipes, no wires, no cables, no oil, radium, gold, bones, pottery, wood or even water. Just a hole. A safety vest with a shiny yellow helmet interrupted My view. "Move back," he said, taking Me for a nosy gringo. I looked at him and his ten colleagues, seeing slack-jawed idiocy as a hot fashion trend.

I walked away. What could I say? But I did smile at the fact that I walked the entire length of Carbonell Hell, crossed the highway, retrieved My car and was on My way in less time than it took the front car in the line to get past the useless work.

Small victories in My town, good and bad.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

No comments: