Friday, July 9, 2010
Our Road From Paradise to Ruin
Or, from ruin to paradise. It depends on which way you're driving.
So let's begin in the middle. Midway on the road was the meth lab. Maybe it wasn't really the meth lab, but the Ponderosa Pharmaceutical Reprocessing Corporation. I doubt this, because somehow the trailer that used to sit here didn't look incorporated. But it did look like what I thought a meth lab would look like, if things looked as they should. The windows had been broken for years so the residents' shelter from the cold was a blanket draped over the frame. Perhaps cooking the Pseudofed kept the place warm. The trailer was dismantled, finally, and all that's left are the front and back porches. I assume the owners used them to enjoy the fruits of the labor.
Looks can be deceiving, I understand. In my old neighborhood there was a car with the license plate "Meth Dst". It seemed odd to advertise an illegal activity so blatantly (read "meth distributor") until I learned a Methodist minister lived there.
No worries, though. Our vibrant neighborhood, full of entrepreneurial souls, already has a possible replacement. A smarter entrepreneur might have located the new lab just outside the reach of the state maintenance, but it's probably a start up operation that is learning as it goes.
Actual ruins do exist on our road. The log cabin was dismantled a while back, and all the logs are probably used now as the flooring of Albert Haynesworth's home or, even worse, Ann Coulter's. At $40 million, he (and by this I mean Ann) can afford it, not that he really gives a flip.
Deserted homes make me....wonder. Built in hope, certainly. Abandoned in despair, probably. In between...How much laughter and kindness and love was there? How much anger and bitterness and sullenness? Did the family move to a "better place"? Were they sad the last time they walked out that door, or eager for the new place they would call their own?
Just up from the chimney is this speed limit sign. The limit was likely unnecessary, or unheeded, or both. Limits can be that way. Should I worry that I tell my sons (in a fatherly way) that, yes, I set my cruise control to be exactly nine miles over the posted limit? I could explain to them (and I think I have) the difference between de jure limits (what the rule actually is) and the de facto limits (what the limit is that is actually enforced). The lesson they hear: this is how much you can break the rule before you are likely to face the consequences.
Even when you are driving between paradise and ruin, you will be watched. Are they blowing kisses or raspberries?