Monday, May 7, 2012

Where the Infrastructure Ends

I live in a small New England town at the end of a street nobody uses. There is a sign at the intersection saying that "This is Not Route 12," thus strongly implying that anybody going this way is probably doing so by accident. For those of us who live here, it's like a delightful look into the future when a combination of decaying hardware and rationed resources have lead to spotty service all around. This is Where the Infrastructure Ends.

After Hurricane Irene came through parts of the road caved in, and because this isn't a high-traffic area, those holes were covered with huge pieces of sheet steel that were sort of welded in place with asphalt and left that way for the winter. I suppose that they'll be taken away this summer and the hole filled, but if they aren't there isn't a thing I can do about it.

Utility service is, to be fair, usually good, but that's gauged against 100% service, as opposed to those rolling blackouts they have in North Korea. Measured up against any other service I've had in the United States, we lose power a LOT more than is normal. I've had the wires yanked off the side of the house by a falling tree, and it didn't even fall there. It feel farther up the line, yanking the cables so tight that the whole connection point, including some of the wood, came off the side of the building.

Another time, the power went off with the sound of a gunshot. It turns out that's the noise the breakers they put on the poles (yes, apparantly they put breakers on poles) trip. Gunfire. Because that sound coinciding with total darkness isn't alarming in any way.

The phones work alright.

Right now, a water main in front of the house is bleeding water into the street. This is Monday and it started leaking on Friday. They put a cone on it and left it. Apparantly losing thousands of gallons of water isn't a big deal, but okay, everybody needs some time off. As Monday turns into Tuesday, however, I'm wondering if anybody is ever actually going to come deal with this leak. However, like the steel places five hundred yards up, I must admit that it's interesting to see what happens when people just take a problem... and leave it.

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