30 November 2007

One Less SUV

Last week the twenty-story-tall crane at the Art School construction sight collapsed. It's one of those spindly steel truss affairs that have to be assembled section by section. In fact, smaller cranes were brought in to assemble this big crane. The end section fell after the whole tower swayed in the wind for several seconds. The fall to earth seemed to happen in slow motion. Morning rush hour had not quite begun. Miraculously, nobody got killed or injured. The collapsed section landed mostly at the intersection of 12th and Race. An SUV was crushed. Utility lines snapped like violin strings. An enormous crane-hauling vehicle was overturned. We could feel the vibration in my building, a block and a half away. Even this early in the morning, the 1132 Bar is serving. The hardcore alcoholics are gulping down their eyeopeners. The winos who find themselves without funds are sleeping either in Washington Park, or at the Drop Inn Center shelter. Most of the drinkers agreed: It was difficult for them to determine whether the crane collapse was something that was "really happening." The CPD cordoned off the area very quickly, and they and the power company trucks waited for OSHA to show. It was a wait of a couple hours, then more hours passed while OSHA investigated. Business at 1132 Bar became more brisk than usual, what with auto traffic blocked off, and pedestrian traffic increased. Homeless people, staffers from the outreach agencies, former city councilman Jim Tarbell, and curious officeworkers from downtown all had to see the wreckage. And at least one enterprising lawyer worked the crowd, searching for anybody who might have sustained actionable injuries. He found no one injured. Nobody was even willing to fake an injury! The lawyer departed, quite disgusted by the lack of capitalist oportunism in OTR.

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All original text (C) 2007, 2008 David J. Carney. All rights reserved.

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