It's a quaint town, my town, though the local news doesn't seem to be able to get the name right. The one they're using is I suppose technically correct, but certainly no one here uses it. Really we're two villages, of differing names, complete with their own post offices and habits. It's a bureaucratic fiction, my town. But anyway, it certainly is quaint. Unbelievably quaint, in fact, and old, very old, for a New English town, anyway. Old enough that a good number of the important bridges in town have arches made of stone, set dry with no mortar. Little antique bridges that cars regularly drive over and all, since they are on some of the main, old, streets of the town, like the two little arched bridges that went over the mill streams just down the street from me. Cute little things, those drystone arched bridges.
That's 'went', past tense.
They washed out yesterday, something they didn't even do in the '38 or'54 hurricanes. Which is very sad; they were awfully historic, those little bridges. But--
My road, and my neighborhood, are set on a little space of land squoze in between the old mill streams and a larger local river. And though the space is small, there are an awful lot of people over here--there's a whole island community at the end of it as well as a school for developmentally disabled adults.
There is one road in.
Was, that is, past tense. Those bridges were it.
Now there is a bit of a way around, but it's not actually a road. There are a couple of ball fields above where the mill stream bridges let go, and a way can be sort of made through there to the main street, behind where the original mill was, though it's mostly flooded and mudded itself. So today they were shuttling people into the rest of town (you know, where the bank, post office, and pharmacy are) in these way cool wicked awesome moon-rover-mud-bus things. Behold the muddy glory:
('So,' I asked the cop who'd driven it, after he'd let me off, 'what color is that thing supposed to be?')
By the way that may look a little familiar, if you saw the national news tonight. One of the stations, I think NBC, flashed a picture of the thing, taken literally three houses down the street from mine, for about two seconds in their piece about the rains up here. I was all OMG THAT'S US!!! at the screen, then it was gone.
Ah, fame. So fleeting.
I don't know how the selectfolk (since we have two selectmen and one selectwoman, not sure quite what that correct plural is) are going to figure this one out. The bridge isn't going to be able to be properly fixed any time soon; they've dumped a bunch of rocks (some really big ones, too; watching the news last night I felt one dropped into place. The noise came down the chimney and shook the house) and some gravel down, and apparently it's at least okay for emergency vehicles, which is good, but not for regular cars, which is bad. But properly building a new one? Years, I'd imagine.
The rumor is that they are going to try to build a temporary but real (as in paved) road through the ball field area. But that too will take some time, with eminent domain, and permits, and all the bureaucratic hoops through which the town will have to jump. And until then? Will they use the moon-mud-busses? How are we going to buy groceries? Without a car it'll be limited to what you can carry and are willing to schlepp home. Now luckily like I said I only live a few doors away; but it's at the top of a hill, which, though it meant this house wasn't flooded more than maybe an inch in the cellar (enough that we did move the litter box so Sir Isaac Mewton didn't have to wade, which, you know, is manifestly unfun for a cat), but it's a real drag, man, to carry stuff up it.
So I don't know. Though today was fun, it's true, with the local kids having the day off from school, and everyone in town it seems out walking to look at the damage, whoa. Almost like the fourth of July, in some ways. Even the cops were in good moods. And luckily I work from home, so I don't have to go somewhere else to work every day.
But how is this ever going to work?