Cement Trucks

Last spring, a truck loaded with something heavy, like cement or machinery, backed up and cracked a square of sidewalk near my house. It didn’t really crack it, more like shattered, lots of little pieces of concrete dancing around, threatening to cut my dog’s foot or catch my high heels (that’s a joke, I don’t have any high heels anymore).

I called the city and asked them to repair the four-foot by four-foot square of concrete. It wasn’t their truck, but they said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get right on it.” However, their definition of “getting right on it” and mine were not exactly the same, but patient person that I am, I entered their number in my phone and waited until summer before calling again.

“Oh, yeah, we haven’t forgotten you, ma’am, we’ll be on it any day now,” and they were. A truck with no logo plus three pickups and a total of five hard-hatted workers came out three days later with measuring tapes and they measured and pointed, cocking their heads and nodding. They definitely were on top of it.

A couple weeks later, more pickups, this time with six hard-hats, showed up and they jackhammered the heck out of that square of concrete turning it into cement dust. They placed lovely orange cones around it, and I breathed a sigh of relief, finally, the sidewalk would be repaired. It was a Friday, about four o’clock, and time for my daily fix of socially distanced wine with my neighbor, so I left to retrieve my vino, but when I returned, the workers had vanished. Poof. No truck, no tools, and all the workers were gone, but in their place, they left plenty of gray cement powder. I wasn’t worried. I knew they’d be back on Monday.

Monday passed, as well as the other days of that week before my itchy finger speed dialed again. “We had to quarantine, and no one will be available for another seven days.” I get that, we are all under quarantine in some form or another. Sure enough, another week passed. I was growing less patient but waited until the leaves began to fall, ahem, three seasons later, before hitting their number. In the meantime, the wind had pretty well cleared out the cement dust. “It’s on our list,” I was told.

I didn’t call again for a couple weeks, as I had my own issues to deal with, but when things calmed, I speed-dialed again. “Next week, for sure. Tuesday.” Tuesday passed, then Wednesday and finally they arrived on Friday morning, this time six pickups, eight men, and a cement truck, the full-service kind, pulled in. They poured the concrete, troweled it smooth, repositioned the orange cones, and moments later, they once again disappeared.

Later that day, I was on my daily walk and stopped to inspect their work and it looked rather good, nice and smooth, and it made my heart sing. They did such lovely work! I finished my stroll, coming home on the opposite side of the street, and noticed a four-foot by four-foot square of sidewalk across the street was in smithereens. I didn’t see it happen, but I’m reasonably sure the cement truck backed onto that sidewalk. I’ll call the city tomorrow.

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