Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tales of the Urban Jungle: An Observer's Notes

What transcribes may or may not be a true(ish) account of life in the Urban Jungle as observed by Dr. Auntie Nettie, in a month not too long ago.

Field Notes

This is is Dr. Auntie. The date is, well, it doesn't matter really. It's April 2012. I've decided to set up an observation post at my studio to record what's going on outside my dwelling to try and understand why I'm so cranky and irritable. I know that my typical Days in the Concrete City are tiring, but the migraine that has driven me over the bridge and tunnel has to have a root cause somewhere.

Maybe if I can keep an accounting, it will help exclude "normal" environmental factors.

Day 1:


Why, for the love of all that's good and holy, is there jack hammering going on RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW? Don't they know I have a migraine?

Dear Verizon: Why? Why with the jack hammering at 7:00 p.m. on a school night? WHY!? I can't hear myself think.

In good news: The jack hammering has stopped. The bad news? The heavy machinery is out. This does not reassure me.

Parking is already bad in this hood & they (the crews/equipment) are taking 2-3 spots. Will Verizon pay to park in muni lots? Holey doubt it. (Oh dear. Punning. This is not a good sign.)

Let's count the things wrong w/this situation: 1 digger. 1 floodlight. 2 supervisors. Hundreds of ticked off neighbors.

Dear log: Too many entries? Just wait. That work is near the pole with the cable/internet/wi-fi box. I'm just waiting for the hole to swallow pole, and pftt.

Just like a watched pot doesn't boil, additional supervisors don't speed up the action. But a hacksaw does! Sparks fly!

Been watching the action in the hole. Digger man annoyed. Supervisor crawled in hole & pantomimed how to do it. Me: JUST DO IT YOURSELF MAN!

Supervisor is actually shoveling! Well 1 of them anyway. The guy in the hole has the big stick. Literally. Depth gauge.

Aside from the previous break-ins, gang bust in front of the building, possible homicide in the building, and constant fires/false alarms/medical emergencies up&down the street, this is exciting stuff around these parts.

The neighbors who had to move their cars for the dig don't seem happy. Watching action w/arms crossed #offsideparkingregulationsnowineffect


In addition to the noise from the backhoe, the "conversation" of the crew, it's also hard to sleep/concentrate/take notes due to the strobe.

There is 1 backhoe, 1 floodlight, 2 cops cars, & approximately 10 guys now staring into a hole. Whoops. Been spotted! *ducking out of sight*

Possible captions:
"Who wants to start the campfire tales?"
"I say we bury the body right there!"
"How many..."

Possible captions:
"Dang. It ain't deep enough yet."
"I'm happy to be employed, I'm happy to be employed."

Possible captions:
"Let us pray."
"Friends, Romans, countrymen...I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."

Can you imagine if I was using a good camera, instead of zooming my tiny Nikon to focus on a hole across the street & using no flash?

Now it's time to measure the hole; 2 to hold the tape & 2 to watch. Dudes. It's a hole. Do you need exact dimensions?

Coffee Break! or ... wait. I know. It's a HOEDOWN!

And ... there goes the supervisor into the vault (appearances may be deceiving).
Maybe it's the entrance to Gringotts?

I'm saying a prayer for the backhoe operator. He's digging a hole around a 6-12 inch metal pipe. HOPEFULLY not the water main.

Scarey situation. That's a bad vortex of pipes, poles, utilities, and WHAT WAS THAT CRUNCHING POPPING SOUND?!

With the hole and this being New York, I can't help but wonder who is going in the hole when this is all said and done. #concreteboots

This is New York. Don't forget, those probably are "union" guys.

It is awfully grave like. I may have to go & "deal with" them if this keeps going past 10. But dang, the cops are still there.

You know, for a communication company, Verizon is do a crap job of communicating why they are digging up and down my street at odd hours.

It's the PHONE company. Not the water company. How is a Verizon dig an emergency? There have been digs up & down the street for weeks. Why here? Why now?

Possible captions:
"What you looking at? You never seen 2 men in a hole?"
"Yo Joe. I said, back off my butt."

Possible captions:
"Bend over and cough"
"I hope she fuzzes out our digger crack"
"Three men and a cranky lady"

It be good if they were prepping to bury the lines, but who knows? Oh no. Now fire trucks racing down the street.

Holy What the Frell?! The jack hammering has resumed. At 10 frakking p.m.! I wonder if a cookie bribe would wrap it up for the night?

Possible captions:
"Guys. This is not what I meant by a threesome."
"What happens in the hole, stays in the hole."

Okay. The last one went a *bit* too far, but sleep deprivation/cacophonous din will do that to you. I'm about to find earplugs, face mask, and noise machine.

It's the lack of sleep, and noise, and disruptions, and I blame the men in the hole! They dug it. I went there. Make it stop!

Noisy din is dying down. Backhoe gone, after moving debris to dump truck. Now an "astronaut" is down there "running wire."

late night, Day 1

Crew sweeping up-my cue to go to try and get some shut-eye. This is {Auntie Nettie} logging off. Thanks for tuning into the most (*fill in adjective*) field log ever.

Notes: 3-4 Advil have no noticeable effects given noise levels and light intrusions into environment. Will turn on noise machines to try and combat any possible ongoing street noises.

Day 2

Early morning:
The jack-hammering resumed at 1:30, 3:40, & 4:30 A.M.! The noise machine, face mask, & pillow over my head didn't help. Send Diet Coke STAT! TIRED. SO SO SO SO SO SO TIRED

[I had to leave the site. It was too dangerous to observe during daylight hours for two days in a row. Left to conduct experiments at other locations.

Upon return spoke to local police officer on scene. Apparently there was an "emergency situation." Again I say. HOOEY! PHONE COMPANY. NOT Water, Gas, Electric, etc. Though, had the wi-fi gone out, there would have been angry zombie pod people horde "helping" the crews.]

Evening observations:

It's turning into the set of the movie "
Holes." Now 2 pits, not to mention camping equipment. If Porto-pots show up...

Late night:
In good news, the bulldozer, dump truck & jack hammers seems to be gone. In bad news, the generator, cop cars, & tent city are still outside.

You know that scene in
E.T. when the family's house is surrounded by the creepy tents & it's all lit up at night? Yeah.

Possible photo captions:
"Every Mother's Nightmare"
OR "Faster than the speed of light"
OR "Take me to your donuts"

Day 3

Dear family: The construction and encampment continues. For the most part the noise is done, but the I cannot guarantee that it won't resume without notice, nor can I tell what the natives are digging for. I fear for my very survival. Tell the children I love(d) them.

Day 4

I am so fed up with this. Tents gone. Large metal plates blocking further exploration. Feel that there is a conspiracy blocking entrance to Narnia.

Day 5

Teutonic Plates not shifting.
If I were a car owner, I wouldn't want to go any where near potential future sinkholes.

Day 6
Am like Ostrich. If I ignore it, it didn't happen.

Day ?
Back hoes and bulldozers around, moving plates, dropping them randomly up and down. Dropping into beds of dozers. SO LOUD. Not at all annoying and scarey and at all freaking out all the yippy dogs and crying babies on street and in buildings. NOPE.

Does this mean it's over? What was the emergency that took all this production?

Day ??
AWESOME repaving job dudes. Let's just fill the GIANT HOLES with lose asphalt and tap it down. No one will ever notice that there was once a hole there!


Seriously! I know parking is tight, but do you really think parking there is safe?

Still later


Street is boring. Where's the entertainment? Where are all the straight guys?

Final notes: I think it is fairly evident why I have migraines and am cranky and irritable. Need to move to a building with better noise shielding.

Update as of June 2012

Fear the return of the drills and backhoes - as spray paint outlines are traced in squares at the sites of previous digs.

Markings on the street bear an uncanny resemblance to chalk outlines which mark bodies at crime scenes.

Can someone prescribe tranqs?

Can someone underwrite my stay in a four-star hotel?

Prognosis grim.

Diagnosis -- Hari Kari to Come

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