Halfway through the first big melt! We could have a party to celebrate the coming spring, except the guests would have to drive through shit like this. Most Taoseños would be used to it, though. Sigh. This spot is just past our “driveway” on a road that shall remain forever nameless, so I can tell a story that perfectly illustrates life in el Norte.
When I first moved to our current address, the county regularly graded and plowed the road. Sometimes it took a phone call from the now-dead landlord to make it happen, but the job got done. After he died, something changed, and now there’s zero maintenance. Those ruts you see? They’ll still be there by summer, hard as concrete, only just a little smoother from the garbage truck turning around.
I made inquiries last summer, because the road was so rough, my wife was freaking out and I worried for the car. Everyone I talked to was very cordial, but no one could help. The problem was that the county had determined that this was now a “private” road, presumably belonging to a rich lady who owned property at the bottom of the hill, and no longer in their inventory. That made a kind of sense, since beyond this point, there are no other houses. But they went even further and declared the stretch from this point back to a certain stop sign was also private and so undeserving of county maintenance.
This was news to me and my neighbors, so I persisted. Finally I had the ear of someone in authority (oh no, no names!), who informed me very politely that I had two choices: 1) I could write up a petition asking the county to reconsider and get everyone who lived on the road to sign it—with absolutely no guarantee of success—or 2), I could “make a contribution,” i.e. a political donation, which might align the gods more strongly in my favor. (In some places they’d call it something else, but you didn’t hear that from me.) I couldn’t swear to this in court, because I was having trouble hearing at that point—the voice having dropped to almost a whisper—but I did hear “contribution” very plainly.
Similar dynamics surely apply elsewhere, but here is where we are. The Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t want you to know, but you’re just as likely to have strange problems with your half-million dollar home as with an old adobe rental. The things one has to put up with for pristine air and 90-mile views!
And so it goes, and goes, and goes…