I Might Just Have to Work From Home This Summer

Since before the snow melted, the construction barrels and road signs have been popping up along every route between our house and work. We’d finally discovered a zig-zagging path around the work zones, so what happened?



There’s a construction sign that’s sprouted just across from our driveway. Well played, construction season. You are a worthy adversary.


General Blight

If the car dealership near our house was open when we moved in, then it was already shutting down. For most of the ten years or so that we’ve lived in our quiet village, the car lot has stood empty. The pavement had cracked in recent years, and weeds took full advantage of the opportunity to form a crazed, green web through the lot.

Now I’m imagining a gigantic spider that weaves weed webs in a parking lot right near my house. Good going, me.

Anyway, there was this large untended commercial lot right next door. Okay, that was the auto part factory. But that’s now a recycling plant of some sort. I don’t really know, which is actually very hard to explain to drivers that show up during off hours. They always seem to think that we have the factory over for dinner or have it watch our cats when we’re out.

“You don’t have a number?” a driver will ask.

“No. They didn’t even tell me they were going. Pisses me off, because I wanted to take my wife out and was counting on them to feed the cats.”

…The car lot is (was) next door to the factory, is what I meant to say. To recap: our house, the factory, the car lot. Also a car wash that sort of borders all of these properties, but that’s irrelevant.

The point is that about a month ago the dealership office was torn down. Now the parking lot has been dug up, and there seems to be foundation work being done.

I know that something’s happening.

We were curious what could be going in. It’s kind of tricky to start a new business around here. It’s a pretty sheltered community, despite being only a 15 minute drive from larger towns and about half an hour from parts of Ann Arbor. The arrangement of roads makes it so that there’s not a lot of traffic, and what there is mostly consists of trucks and other long-distance travellers. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the proximity to the larger communities, you should just put your startup money on lottery tickets — you’ll probably lose less.

We finally took a look at the sign posted on the construction site. It turns out that the store’s going to be a Dollar General. Those things are like blight fungus, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I just don’t see how it fits into a small village economy. It’ll probably take some snack and sundries business from the grocery and hardware stores, but that’s about it. Is there that much demand here for cheap can openers and crummy pens?

We’ll see. I just hope the factory leaves a number at the Dollar General when they’re away.

Death Awaits Me

I have seen my death, and I cross it at least twice every workday.

The intersection outside of the building where I work has been an all-way stop for well over a year. The traffic lights were “temporarily” taken out of service because of an extensive construction project on the next block.

Being a busy intersection in Ann Arbor, the lights never much affected pedestrian behavior in the first place. People cross whenever and wherever they damn well please. For now, though, at this instersection drivers are entirely at the mercy of the unwise crowd. I’m painfully aware of what damage a car could do to me, but even I just walk on through.  I don’t even pretend to watch or wait anymore but simply rely on drivers to accept their powerlessness.

Some day the construction will end, and the cars will regain the illusion of authorized ownership of the road. Shortly thereafter I fully expect to be creamed while blindly crossing against the light.

At least I’ll know that I had it coming.