Close Enough For Government Work.

About a month ago I heard the sounds of trucks beeping and a few loud thumps early in the morning. Construction noises aren’t unusual in my neighborhood; pretty much any house that sells these days gets knocked down and replaced with something bigger. But when I looked out the window I saw approximately three thousand Nashville Metro trucks and a whole crew of workers in hard hats parked at the end of our driveway. Marks had been spray-painted on the street months earlier so I assumed the work had something to do with that. I walked up to see what was going on.

“Hey,” said one of the guys, smiling at me. “You don’t need to get out of your driveway, do you?”

He could have asked that before they decided to park their trucks right in front of it and completely demolish the end of our driveway, removing the big culvert pipe that goes under it for drainage. But I said no then asked how long they were going to be.

“Less than an hour,” he said. And he was right. I think it took them less than forty-five minutes to finish the job, installing a new culvert pipe and covering the whole thing with packed gravel. It wasn’t pretty—they removed the concrete walls that had been on either side—but it was functional and I thought maybe we could save up enough money to have new concrete walls installed on either side to help hold the gravel in place.

And then a little over a week ago I was about to start working when I heard construction sounds again. I looked out the window and once again there were approximately three thousand trucks parked in front of our driveway. I walked up to the street to see what they were doing.

“Hey,” said a different guy, smiling at me. “You don’t need to get out of your driveway, do you?”

Again this seemed like a goofy question but I laughed because I had a good idea of how it would go. And this time they actually hadn’t blocked the driveway. The only trouble we’d have getting out, if we needed to, would be navigating around all the trucks in the street. He added that they’d be out of the way in less than an hour, then asked if I thought they were doing a nice job.

They were. The new concrete walls on either side of the driveway look very nice. Joke all you want about government work. Sometimes they get things done.

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  1. M.L. James

    Hey Chris,
    My heart goes out to Nashville today. Also, your new culvert looks truly nice and functional. It’s great when they (the government) gets it right! Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hey Mona,
      It’s been a little over a week now but thank you for thinking of Nashville. Unfortunately the tragedy here is just the latest in an all too long series of tragedies.


    Very nice, Chris, and I’m glad you can get out of your driveway. I hope the government works out better there soon.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      At the state level Tennessee’s government seems to have hit bottom and started to dig, metaphorically blocking a lot of driveways in the process, but at least we’re trying locally to make things better.


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