Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Down by the River, IV

A staircase in the parking ramp led to a gravel road into this construction site. Behind the wooden fence on the left, the land drops off into the river.

I took this photo standing next to an open chain-link gate, with signs forbidding entry.

As I stood there wondering if I dared sneak up to the wooden fence, a heavy, white pickup truck approached from behind.
Instead of driving on through, it stopped right next to me.
I turned and gave the driver, in a day-glo vest and hard hat, a small wave.

Unsmiling, he leaned across the front seat and opened the passenger-side door.
"Can I help you?" he said, in a suspicious tone.

"Oh, no, no. I'm just looking," I said in full-on chirpy mode but feeling rather rattled. Was I doing something wrong?
"It's so sad..."
This guy wasn't biting, so I went on, "Are you building a new bridge?"


"That's great. So that's actually going ahead?" (It had been a long process.)

An unemotional "Yes."

"When will it be done?"

The man hesitated before answering. "December 24."

"Is it OK that I'm looking around?" I asked, a little paranoid. Was I asking state secrets? (No.) Surely this was all public knowledge? (Yes, entirely.)

"Yeah..." he said. "But you don't want to go any further."

"Oh, no, no, I don't want to do that," I said. "Thanks a lot!"

OK," he said, and closed his door and drove slowly past, the truck's tires crunching on the gritty muddy road.

I left right away.
I'm telling you, intimidation works.
I just don't understand why it felt so threatening. Is this all fallout from 9/11? We don't trust each other?

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