While driving to work the other morning at an hour that is best left to milkmen and burglars who are heading home after a dishonest night’s work, I came across something that amazed me. It was a construction zone. Not only was it a construction zone but it had men at work. Well, men standing around signs that said they were at work. They must have been doing some serious, strenuous supervision of the one guy who was actually holding a shovel. Of course he was just standing there looking at the 7 supervisors with a look that said, “Where is the ‘on’ switch on this thing?”
Living in Knoxville made me an expert on construction. A few years ago we had the dubious distinction of have continuous construction on the infinite interstates. You would drive down I-40; I-75; I-275; I-640; I-1,436,278; or stand at the corner of Gay and Union Streets (and no I’m not making that intersection up) and find construction. No one ever seemed to be doing anything. But the construction zones were impressive in their ability to block traffic for no apparent reason. That has changed and we now have fast flowing freeways that allow us to go wherever it is we need to go at speeds that guarantee the Knoxville police department will make their ticket quota.
Having never worked road construction I am not qualified to judge the complexities of the job. But when did I let a little thing like the facts stop me? There must be something that causes slowdowns that those of us who are not in the know must not know. I suspect that it has something to do with delivery scheduling, labor unions, the cost of living in Ecuador and the dangers of non-dairy creamer in microwave ovens. It is astonishing that it takes so long to repair a highway when I saw how fast they can be made on the Dr. Seuss cartoon “Who Lifted the Lorax?” And we all know if it is in a Dr. Seuss cartoon it’s got to be realistic and true!
It seems that there is an insidious instinct behind the timing of road work. It would be cruel to cast aspersions on those who are not to blame because who knows how much damage a spersion could cause if you cast it at someone. Those things are lethal! Nevertheless, there are a few things that need to be said. For example, why do the road crews start blocking off the lanes right at the beginning of rush hour in the mornings? Would it kill them to stand around and wait for traffic to slow down to block off the lanes and then stand around waiting for a sign to begin work? It seems like they could stand around without blocking off the lanes.
Just one last thing. Would it kill the people holding the signs to wave once in a while?
Being a friendly person I like to wave at people who are working and doing things that help me. It’s not like I want a huge grin like they are long lost friends of mine who I recognize from high school English class where they sat two seats behind me. (I’m talking to your Larry!) You don’t even have to be enthusiastic in your greeting. Just a little wave is all I’m asking. Pretend you’re on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Just do that little wave. Come on! I’m friendly!!