We saw Mick this morning at the flea market. It was Mick’s fine barn that we saw and loved and parts of which we incorporated into ours. Mick lives off of a dirt road and so do we. We have had such an amazing amount of rain this summer that the county boys cannot keep up with all the repairs. Glenn called our councilman for help. They have to first fix roads that won’t allow people out of their homes with their cars. Then we will come next. Our road has been destroyed down to the “crush and run” under the sand. But it can wait.
Upon seeing Mick recently, our councilman asked Mick how he was doing. Mick said he was sending his resume to NASA. What?? said the councilman. Mick said that if those county boys could drive a road grater, he surely could fly the space shuttle! Mick moves dirt for a living. Boys with their toys; this has got to be a dream job. When we moved our house from three miles down the road to its current location, the old man we hired to move it with his ancient truck proved not to be up to the task. Mick came with one of his crawlers and pulled the house AND the truck into their final positions.
He travels around the Southeast for work. And I don’t think it bothers him. But it bothers him as someone who knows about what the county maintenance team is supposed to do, and sees them not doing it.
He made an offer. He told the councilman that he would take care of Pepsi Road and Water Tower Road for six months at no cost. He would keep detailed records of what he had to do as far as labor, what machines he used, and what he spent. Mick suspects that much money is being wasted, wrong over-sized and over-expensive equipment is being used. Mick would use his smaller earth movers and whatever was needed and do this job for free. After six months, and the comparison of the county figures with Mick’s figures, they would have something to talk about regarding road maintenance. Mick would have a nice little job at home, and the county would save an ass of money.
The councilman never called back on the offer of six months of free maintenance on two long roads. Why? How can an elected official change established situations and upset staff? How do you fight those who follow the old adage about government money; the old “use it or lose it” syndrome? Early one morning, I once ran down our long driveway in my robe when part of the road maintenance team had a giant rotary cutter on his equipment and he was cutting down all the overhanging limbs from trees I had nurtured for years. The driver had dealt with people like me before. He was very dramatic in the way he took his hands off the wheel. He said he had to make the driveway wide enough to accommodate the new BIG grater. I told him that his cutting work had never made results like this before. He said the new rotary cutter attached to the current grater was bigger, and takes more of the tree.
Bigger grader, more of my trees? Why? Use more gas, destroy more landscape, piss off more people, and keep that government money coming in, which never seems to be enough. We all want these services, but couldn’t we be smarter about this stuff? Why does such a poor county in a poor state have to have such big graters? To use on two lane roads and long driveways?
I am seeing a wild animal with his tail in his teeth whirling around here.