At about 8:50 this morning, there was a sudden loud hammering at the front door, and I opened it to find a representative of The Lumpy Men (a.k.a. the Town of Vienna’s public works staff) on my doorstep.
Once again, he informed me that they were going to be working on the street in front of our house, and we needed to move John’s car Right Now (I guess if no one was home they would have been SOL). I told him John was leaving in just a few minutes, so he rejoined his buds on the street, where they had marked out a patch of asphalt with spray paint.
Those who have been keeping up with this blog know that we’ve had a number of issues with this particular patch of asphalt over the past year. First there was the miraculous early-autumn appearance of a bubbling spring in the middle of the street, the result of a town water main break. That heralded the first appearance of The Lumpy Men and the ceremonial Demand to Move the Car, followed by a Certain Amount of Hilarity, followed by Shouting At Each Other as the work began. Once the leak was repaired, The Lumpy Men returned to patch the street. Several months later we noticed leaking from beneath the patch. The Lumpy Men returned once again and the now-traditional Opening Ceremonies were observed – the Door Hammering, the Demand, the Hilarity and Shouting. This time there was a leak where the town water connects to our residential line, which entailed an exciting new ceremony: Driving the Backhoe Onto the Lawn. Unfortunately we were out of town for the conclusion of the ceremony (the Patching of the Street).
Today’s event is the Tearing Up of the Patch and the Laying of Fresh Asphalt. The celebrants this time are slightly less Lumpy than usual and there’s been a puzzling new twist – the Laying of a Hoe Point Down in the Lawn and Leaping Merrily Upon It. I observed one of the younger celebrants executing this complicated maneuver and can’t really see the point of it, but it was performed with great gusto. It was followed by the same celebrant flinging a single work glove into the street and stomping it, but as I don’t think this was part of the ceremony, I haven’t Capitalized it. Perhaps an excess of spiritual energy is to blame; the celebrant in question is currently jumping around, juggling bits of asphalt and wearing his hard hat sideways. I expect that, as the years pass, this youthful acolyte will realize the gravity of the Ceremonies and will attain a more reverent attitude, as well as the Lumpiness required of a true celebrant.