Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This state is about to BLOOOOOWWWW!

Have you ever seen a movie where the director builds suspense by showing the infrastructure of a building beginning to buckle? People are either trapped inside, or clueless, as the first spurt of water comes out of the water pipe, or a crack appears in the foundation, or the rope supporting the elevator begins to fray...the audience sucks in their breath, knowing that disaster is imminent.

Yeah. Those clueless and/or trapped people are all in California this week, and our house is on the verge of collapse. Last weekend there was a huge water main break in Los Angeles:
The Saturday night break in the giant pipeline that forms an underground river between the Los Angeles Reservoir in Sylmar and the Franklin reservoirs in Hollywood drew attention to the city's aging infrastructure.

According to the press coverage, that pipeline was built in 1914 - that's just shy of a century ago, back when people thought the horseless carriage wouldn't catch on. And now it's serving a county where people think nothing of putting fountains in their pools and building one bathroom per bedroom.

My LA friend Ledette said she was surprised but not too worried about the water main break...and then she woke up Tuesday morning to find water coursing down her street in Valley Village, the result of another rupture. This is the one that swallowed half a firetruck, if you haven't seen the photo yet check it out here. Glad that the crew got out unhurt.

I would have commiserated but was too busy feeling relief that last weekend's planned closure of the Bay Bridge to put a new temporary span in place turned up a 1-INCH-WIDE-CRACK elsewhere on the bridge, heretofore undetected. All hail C.C. Meyers, the same construction crew that fixed the Macarthur Maze in Oakland ahead of schedule after a truck fire destroyed a segment a few years back - despite the unplanned surprise, the bridge opened up only a couple of hours later than planned. But how many times have I driven the kids over that bridge during the summer, blithely ignorant of the problem?

C'mon. If this were a movie, there would be only one more incident before one character, the one mocked by the others for being paranoid or too serious, would say, "Hey guys? I think we may have a problem." And in another 5 minutes, we'd all be running for our lives in slow motion, with enormous orange explosions behind us.

I'm getting my gas tank filled and strapping on my running shoes.

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