Thursday, May 27, 2010

A chip on the block!

Robert Frost in his poem, Mending Wall, couldn't have said it any better. "Something there is that doesn't love a wall". Some people seem to despise them. They look at them suspiciously like they are going to rise up and fall on top of them. These people generally look the other way when they see one. If they do happen to run into one somewhere, it will more likely be in a car.

This week we have been working in Cobourg Ontario building two lovely dry stone walls on the north and south sides of a residential property. Our client already has a beautiful wall built for him along the front of his property. It is the best looking house on the block. This man is not a tyrant, or a serial killer or a lawyer, but for some reason the neighbors seem to hate him. The new walls we are building are not making his neighbours any happier.

On one side, a Bob Newhart kind of character (without the humour) looks on all day with a deadpan expression. Finally after much blank-stare glaring, and in a rather zombie-like voice, he manages to verbalize his concern that we make sure no stone chips fly off and damage his new windows. They are 20 feet from where we're working! Heck, a lawn mower or a weed-eater is likely to do more damage. Other than that sardonic remark, he just stands and stares at us as we build. No comments. Sometimes he goes off and washes his driveway.

On the north side where we are building the other wall, a lady in her housecoat, who sits all day reading the paper on her screened-in porch, will not allow us to stand on her grass to access the wall we are trying to build. We have to tip-toe along a very narrow strip between the wall and her property with the stones we need to build with. She watches from her porch. Again, no comments, expressionless, nothing. At noon she orders us to stop working while she backs her car out of the driveway. Flying chips might mutilate the vehicle? Not likely. I managed to find only three confetti-size flakes on the driveway from a morning of working near her side.

If we were building fences with noisy power tools, screaming grinders, chain saws and earth pounding compacters, using toxic glues and sealants, and dangerous air hammers, the neighbours would probably love us. Oh wall.

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