Wednesday, February 29, 2012
GOSH DARN IT!
IN THE PAST
Picture this: you’ve parked your car, done all your errands with great success and now it’s time to head for home. But wait, some jerk has squeezed his car in behind you, leaving you with about 6 inches of space in which to maneuver.
Thinking maybe he’ll be back soon, you kill some time getting your coffee at Starbucks and then head to your car again. Nope. Nothing has changed. You’re going to have to see if you can work some magic and get your car out of that space.
You know you not only are going to have to work your car forward and backward but you must also insure that you move laterally toward the street. You don’t dare get your back wheel against the curb because if you do, you’re going to find yourself SOL!
ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE
Now picture this: The big 340 ton rock that you’ve waited to see leave its quarry in Glen Avon is on the move. It started about 10:30 pm and right now it’s getting ready to make a left hand turn from a two lane frontage road onto a freeway overpass. It’s a four-lane overpass but with high metal fences, big metal pole holding stoplights – and not a whole lot of options for that huge rock strapped into its 200’ transporter.
It starts the turn – and at that point there is no difference between the car that has 6 inches to play with and the transporter that simply has to make that hard left turn happen.
So this is where we were last night. We arrived at our chosen vantage point at 10. We posted ourselves at the south end of the overpass, where we could see the rock coming down Granite Hill Road, make the turn onto the overpass, come up and over – and then pass by in front of us.
No one told us that it was going to take an hour and a half to go around that corner. At 1:30 a.m. the rock was still maneuvering. We had been alerted to the possibility of “something” happening by two loud honks from one truck and two smaller responding honks from another. But to our eyes, there simply was no movement. I could picture, as clear as day, that transporter going forward two inches, backing up one, manipulating the steering wheel, cranking it in the opposite direction.
I did not ever in my dreams picture 90 minutes of seeing nothing – added to the already almost 2 hour wait we’d already experienced for the rock’s three mile trip west on Granite Hill Road. We had come prepared: I was wearing jeans, a tee shirt, a sweat shirt, a car coat, gloves, hat and a warm blanket. Jerry was similarly attired. We had brought camp chairs to sit in but quickly learned that if we didn’t stay moving we froze in place. It was one of those rare COLD California nights, and only pacing or jumping jacks kept us from leaving prematurely. We may be old but we aren’t sissies, we thought.
However, at 1:30 we called it a night. No turn yet, no waving as the rock went by, no being one of the few who actually was there to see it pass. But sad to say, we gave in and headed for home. And even more sadly, from the warmth of our bed about a mile from this overpass we heard the big truck lay on its horn twice, the little horn respond twice, and then all the horns honk as the transporter obviously made its laborious trek across the overpass while we were flat on our backs, warm as toast.
In light of missing the big show, was the evening an entire flop?
Well, not exactly. Our son Garry was there with us, as the company he works for has produced the steel frame that will hold the rock in place at LACMA. It is always fun when you can spend quality time with your kid. And there was a documentary company on site who asked if we could be interviewed about why on earth we were there at such an ungodly hour watching a stupid boulder move. We may never see the documentary, but of course Garry, whom they interviewed mostly may turn out to be the next Brad Pitt or George Clooney.
So all was not lost. Still, I admit to disappointment. Today we can run down to the nearby corner of Mission and Bellegrave and walk around that rock and its amazingly-engineered transporter. But it’s not the same as watching it successfully navigate the turn off Granite Hill Road onto the overpass and come charging down Mission Boulevard at its maximum speed of about 8 miles per hour.