Tuesday is trash/recycle day in our neighborhood. It is also yard waste pickup day. If you have leaves or lawn clippings or tree trimmings all you need to do is leave them on the street where the city picks it up and takes it away. Usually in the fall they will come around a couple times wit h a big vacuum truck, but most of the time it is with an open top trailer with a claw arm like you see at the carnival where you waste a lot of money trying to pick up a small stuffed animal.
Over the weekend our next door neighbor cleaned the last of leaves out of his back yard and lined them up along the curb. When we came home, we couldn’t get to our driveway because the truck was parked in the middle of the street. We waited a few minutes, but you could tell he was going to be at it a while, so we backed up a few feet and took a cross street and went around the back to come in the other way. Donna walked out and checked the mail. The guy was still at it. I took a rake and swept a small branch off the roof over the front door which Donna then took out to the street to add it to leaf pile. We went inside and read through the mail, both snail and e.
We were both changing from work attire into our “play” clothes when we heard a series of loud noises: Snap. Crash. Phhhhfft. Thud. Donna asked, “What was that?” Me, “I don’t know.” She goes to the kitchen window and says, “There is wire down in the driveway! Come look!” I say, “That’s the phone line.”1 Her, “The guy must have hit with his truck. He’s still there, go tell him.” Me, “Let me get some pants on first.”
By the time I get dressed, put some shoes on and open the front door, the truck takes off down the street. We go out to survey the damage. The phone line ran from top of the end of the house along the driveway to across the street. It is still attached to the eave of the house, but it has been yanked off the line over on the other side of the street and wrapped itself around the tree partway down the side of the driveway. That is when Donna points over to the “natural area” on the other side of the lawn and asks, “What’s that?” It is the lamp that was on top of the post in the holly bush at the end of the driveway. As she put it, “That wire decapitated2 the lamp post.”
I went back in the house and looked up the city’s Public Works Dept. phone number ion the web. The page showed that their work hours were 8:15 to 5:00. It was about 20 minutes to five so naturally they didn’t answer the phone. So I left a message to call me at home, hoping that they would call before the day was over. You know what they say, “Hope in one hand, $%&@ in the other.”
Wednesday moring I called the number at 7:45 to leave another message to have them call my work phone. Someone answered on the second ring. I told the nice lady my story and she said, “Hold on, I’ll go get the supervisor.” Two or three minutes later she come back on, “I see his truck, maybe he’s in a meeting. Could you hold on a little while longer? That is in the other building.” Two or three minutes later she’s back, “Let me transfer you.” I get a quik ring and the supervisor’s voice mail kicks in; I’m out of the office until Monday the 13th (which is next week), leave a message or for immediate assistance dial 642-extention.
That was the same number I dialed in the first place, so I called it again. A different woman, who has obviously heard my story from the first, picks up the phone and says, “We don’t start work until 8:15.” So I say, “I know, was just trying to leave a message, but the supervisor’s voice mail says he won’t be in until next week and I wonder who I should tell about this problem.” “He is here. Hold on I’ll go get him.”
Two or three minutes later she’s back with a male voice on the speaker phone. I tell my story again and the man says, “What’s your adress, I’ll go by and see what we have to do, then call you back.” Within a hour he calls back. “I couldn’t find a light just like yours at BBHIW #1 or BBHIW #2 or Ace Harware. Do you want me to send you some pictures and you can choose?” I tell him, “It really doesn’t matter much to me, just as long as it is similar, i.e. black, 4 clear sides, whatever.” “OK, I’ll get you fixed up.”
I took Donna home at lunch as she was taking a half day off and when we pulled into the driveway there was a lamp already on top of the post. It wasn’t lit up though, there was no bulb in it. About that time, a City of Aiken truck pulled up and our male voiced supervisor popped out. “I had to go get a different bulb because the original one I picked out didn’t fit.” While he was installing the bulb he mentioned that he had called AT&T for us so they could come out and fix the wire.3
The whole light assembly is smaller than the one it replaced, but doesn’t look too bad. The bulb they put in it is super bright, when I looked out the window this morning when it was still dark out, it looked like we had a lighthouse at the end of the driveway, just not rotating.
1. This is no great loss as we get our phone service through the cable company.
2. As it might have done to any humans standing in the driveway had the truck pulled away about fifteen minutes earlier.
3. I wonder how long it take for that to happen? See #1 above.