another day, another toxin.
© 1999 Jamie Zawinski <>

It's nothing but construction excitement around here! The fun never stops.

I was heading out to meet some friends for lunch. As I left my building, I noticed a fire truck parked right in front of my building. ``That's not good,'' I thought. As I turned toward the corner, I saw the reason for the excitement: there was a geyser in the middle of the intersection.

One of the tools they use to dig up the roads around here (constantly, I might add) is this device that looks like a cross between a lawnmower and a table saw: it has a three foot circular blade, pointing down, and they use it to cut a pair of parallel lines into the concrete. Then a back-hoe comes along and scrapes the surface of the road off between those lines.

Well, this time they shaved a little too closely, because the geyser was coming out of one of these slits. They had nicked a pipe of some kind. The white spray looked like water.

So that was all very entertaining, and as I passed through the intersection and headed on my way, I noticed something odd: this jet of water wasn't actually hitting the ground. It was coming out with quite some force, reaching at least thirty feet in the air, but the ground wasn't wet. Where was it going? Maybe it was actually steam, and it was evaporating?

Half a block later, I smelled it. Oh, of course. Gas. That would explain the fire truck.

So I went and had a leisurely lunch, several miles away, all the while listening for the tell-tale sound of a distant ``ka-boom'' that would mean that my home was gone.

Well, there was no explosion, and when I returned home, they had managed to stop the geyser. But now things were even more entertaining, because they had dug a new trench in the road, and there was a new crew welding the pipe. This crew was wearing space suits.

[ spacemen ][ spacemen ]

The other construction crew was still there as well, without space suits, and they all looked very, very unhappy. There was one fellow in particular who had this ``I am without question going to lose my job -- I am completely screwed'' look on his face.

So I ran inside and got my camera, and snapped some photos to preserve the moment. Every time someone on the crew noticed me taking pictures, they gave me a really nasty look. I wonder why!

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