Saturday, July 12, 2008

4 Happy Thoughts

Every morning, I get in my car and drive into the city. The otherwise 17 minute drive usually takes 45 minutes to an hour because of the thousands of other people who are also driving into the city during peak-hour. So there we all sit: alone in our cars, thinking about the night before, or the morning, or our upcoming day, and we each do it in isolation - even though we're surrounded by hundreds of other people all sitting in their own cars; all doing the same thing.

Every now and again, though, something happens that makes me feel like we're all part of the same giant community - and I always love it when that happens. I like to listen to the radio in the morning, because it's the only time I hear the news or can keep up with what's going on. People call in, and talk about traffic accidents and everyone around me nods, because now we all know that the left lane is blocked up ahead. Indicators go on, and everyone starts to move over into the right hand lanes. Occasionally, you're singing and dancing along to a great song on the radio, and you glance in the rear view mirror and see the person in the car behind you dancing and singing along to the same song. That makes me smile :)
A few nights ago, I was driving home at about 7pm, and the roads getting onto the freeway to head out of the city were still really congested. All of a sudden, I heard an ambulance coming up behind me. I quickly maneuvered my car awkwardly over to the side of the road, and made some space for it to get through. I was coming down a bit of a hill at the time, so I could see the roads and intersections stretching out in front of me as they merged to the highway. Now, I know that an ambulance isn't the kind of thing that makes most people grin - and I hate to think about the poor person who needs the ambulance - but I have to say that seeing an ambulance on the road like that always makes me smile in a deep down happy kind of a way. As the ambulance went past me, I saw each of the crazily congested cars in front of me likewise move off to the side to let the ambulance through. People with green lights stopped so the ambulance could zip safely across the intersections, and space was created where there literally wasn't any space before. All so that someone we'd never met could get the help they needed as quickly as possible. I realize that there's a law saying that people have to move for an ambulance, but still, I get excited to be part of a giant, unspoken, community cooperation. It made me smile the whole way home.

You know what else made me smile? Yesterday morning, I was driving past a little cafe, and I saw a guy standing out on the curb, talking on his mobile phone. As I glanced at him, I realized that he was giving someone street directions on how to get there. How did I know this? well, because he was standing there (all alone) with one hand holding his phone to his ear, and the other hand actioning out the directions. From what I was able to gather, his friend needs to head straight for a good little while, then vear to the left for a couple of minutes before turning right at a round about to move around and under a bridge (which would make sense, because the cafe was actually under a bridge). His brow was wrinkled in concerntration, and it made me smile to think that the fellow probably didn't even realize he was gesturing for a person who couldn't see him.
About four weeks ago, we received a letter at work that let us know that some apartments were going up on the vacant block across the road from us. We'd seen signs, so we weren't surprised. But they did say that they'd be putting in the foundations over a three week period, and that neighbours in the area might experience 'some noise disruption' during that period. I think the note got pinned up on the kitchen notice board, but we didn't think too much about it. Well, about a week later, workers started arriving on the site. Here is what I have learnt, 3 weeks later, about their particular approach to dropping a foundation:
1) Every morning, huge piles of wooden poles (about the height of tall telephone poles) get delivered across the road. 2) The hammer machine then lifts one pole at a time, and BANGS it into the ground. This BANGING makes A LOT OF NOISE. 3) Once that pole is all the way into the ground, they lift another pole up on top of the pole already in the ground, and bang it down on top of the original pole. 4) A third pole gets banged down on top of the second pole until suddenly, when it's almost all the way in, the ground (for about a 5 block radius), SHAKES VIOLENTLY. This means that first/bottom pole has finally hit bedrock (the rock layer beneath the dirt layer). 5) the machine then moves about a foot to the left or right, and starts the process ALL OVER AGAIN. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!!!
When the entire block is riddled with these poles, they'll cut off the tops, and pour a cement slab that covers/joins the pole. Apparently this means the foundations for the building is sitting on the bedrock, and the building's more secure. Seems a bit strange to me, but I figure they know what they're doing.
This has been going on, across the road from my office, everyday, nonestop, from 7am-5pm, for 3 LONG WEEKS! The only reprieve I have is if I'm in one of the sound proof studios downstairs, but my office upstairs is defiantly not sound proof, and anyway, even when you're in the sound proof rooms, the ground still SHAKES VIOLENTLY periodically! I had to move a studio shoot last week to a studio off site because the ground kept shaking in the studio!

Naturally, the works across the road have been a source of discussion for the past weeks - culminating, yesterday, in rumours that the yesterday (Friday) was the last day. By our calculations, the three weeks should be up, and on Monday, we should be back to a quiet normal. What's funny - or what made me smile - was realizing that by the end of last week, I'd grown completely accustomed to the constant banging. i hadn't really thought about it for 2 days. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicious, that come Monday, if that noise isn't there, I might have a hard time concentrating! How crazy would that be?! What strange confused beings we are!

My final little happy/funny thought for today is dedicated to my brothers: Last night we had a Stake Relief Society 'Christmas in July' activity, and I had been asked to sing a few Christmas songs. I was late home from work, and then I had to quickly download backing tracks for the songs etc., so I was running late. I discovered a few years ago, that drinking hot water before I sing is a really quickly easy way to warm up my voice, and since I was running late, I asked my brothers (Micky, Oliver and Ben) who were all home, if they'd put some hot water in my drink bottle. Within minutes though, the water was getting cold again, so I asked them if they would mind boiling some water in the microwave and then putting it in my water bottle, so that by the time I came to sing a couple of hours later, the water would probably still be hot. As I was running out the door a few minutes later, Micky give me the water bottle, and it was really hot. I actually tried to drink a bit in the car, and burnt my tongue. It was even still hot when I swallowed a few mouthfuls before singing an hour or two later, so good job boys - it was well boiled!

When I got home late last night with Mum and Bethy though, I looked at the bottle as I took it out of my bag, and then I burst out laughing! I pulled another water bottle (same brand) out of the cupboard, and compared them both...

The one I took with me is the tiny shrunken one, but this photo really doesn't do it justice! Trust me, it's even smaller in real life! What did they do to the bottle?! I'm guessing they must have put the water bottle IN the microwave to boil the water?! Either way, If I happen to die some time this week, have them check my stomach - I'm pretty sure I must have drunk the missing half of the water bottle!

xo Tammy


breckster said...

I can't wait to see cars move for emergency vehicles again. I'm glad that my sense of community comes from other mothers/nannies sharing food with Reuben at the park. Commuting was the pits.

You are lucky to have such dutiful brothers!

Sandy M. said...

Dear Tammy,
I am fortunate enough to see you (almost) every day and generally comment to you in the old-fashioned way. I like reading your blog though. I like reading your friends' comments.
Hello, friends!
Lots of love,
M xo

James & Abby said...

Jonny said in Korea, nobody moves much before ambulances, but everybody squishes in behind them and follows their trail to get ahead of any more community-minded citizens who are letting it through!

I was walking back across the road after lunch today to get to work, and my head was obviously far away because I almost walked out in front of a car! I noticed, and stopped, very sorry before jumping back on the curb. I looked into the car as it stopped in the middle of the road and saw a cute little old man. He grinned and waved me across the road in front of him. It was really sweet. I felt like I made a friend :)

Bless Micky Ben and Oliver!! :)

Hi Mum! - Just emailed you lol :) xo

emilysuze said...

I empathize with the guy on the cell phone who was giving directions. I make hand gestures to people I'm talking to via the phone all the time and must look like a total goober! :)

Thanks for posting--it makes me happy.

P.S. Chris might be in Australia in a couple of months as his boat is deployed out of Guam and they may dock for a few days in Australia. I'm jealous that he'll be so stinkin' close to your locale!

Tammy Lorna said...

Hey Emily - that's cool about Chris and Australia! If he's in Brisbane, tell him he has to give me a call :)

xo Tammy