Saturday, February 27, 2010

Getting Hammered

It was around 2:00AM when the noise jolted us out of of bed. Engines revving, music blaring, a dozen voices shouting and laughing right outside our window. Maybe the Temperance Union has a point, we thought. As we pulled the pillow up over our ears and began composing an angry letter to the editor, we could hear the sound of an acetylene torch, mingled with the rhythmic thumping of a sledge hammer. Now the kids have gone too far!

Of course it wasn't a gang of drunken sidewalk-shitters, but rather the electric company performing some non-emergency maintenance. At 2:00AM. With sledgehammers. The city has spent the past year or so trying to submerge the town's various phone/power/television lines underground, and is now tearing down the poles that used to carry them. We believe they did this using dynamite, to judge by the broken concrete and steel stumps left behind. Stump-removal is apparently done in the dead of night, and requires two large trucks and a crew of nine: one guy to work the torch, one to swing the hammer, six to stand around shouting and laughing, and one to make sure the banda-blaring radio in the truck is just slightly off the station, so that it's static-y and distorted.

Dropping all these wires underground certainly reduces the visual clutter here in the Centro. The problem, however, is that they haven't quite figured out what to do about the last several meters - the wires that actually lead into people's houses. So on the one had, we no longer have a big ugly telephone pole outside our offices. On the other hand, our phone wires - the wires that connect to Carlos Slim and thus to the outside world - now run from the sidewalk and are simply tacked on to the outside wall of the building. One good, sharp tug from a drunken teenager and we'd be unable to call 066 to complain about the 2:00AM sledgehammering. Which might all be part of the city's grand plan...

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