Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called "Where the Sidewalk Ends." Had he visited my suburban Northeastern town (whose identity I can't reveal due to my personal retinue of stalkers who want to do me harm or, at a minimum, tickle me) he would have noticed that there are an increasing number of sidewalks to nowhere.
My immediate neighborhood is sidewalk-less, and I understand that this is considered "upscale." (Which is pretty funny, because considering someone like me "upscale" means that the word "upscale" is most definitely going "downscale"). However, whenever anyone builds a new house or renovates an existing one, the owner is required to install a sidewalk. And that owner is required to pay for a permit to gain permission to build the sidewalk that one is required to build whether one wants to or not.
Why wouldn't one want to build a sidewalk (and why am I using the royal "one" so many times in this blog post)? In my opinion, there is a definite downside to "owning" a sidewalk. Namely, the owner is bound to keep it clear of snow and ice. And given the winter that we've just endured, that means many many hours of back-breaking work. With no assurance that someone isn't going to slip and fall anyway on your cracked, winter-ravaged sidewalk and sue you for whatever little you've got left post renovation.
Since there's no particular pattern to the renovations, it is not unusual to pass a entire row of (upscale) houses without sidewalks and then, just when you thought you were home free, come upon a sidewalk. From the air, I imagine it looks like the remaining tooth in an otherwise toothless smile.
I was taking a walk the other day in my sidewalk-less neighborhood when I came upon a single sidewalk. It stretched the length of one modern home and was very white and shiny. I stepped up onto the sidewalk (because what else was I supposed to do?), took 10 steps and found myself at the other end, at the limit of the property line. I started to step down....and fell into the abyss.
My luck, I fell onto the sidewalk-less part of the street. Who am I to sue (or more accurately, whom am I to sue)? Maybe Shel Silverstein.
Posted by Joan Oliver Emmer at 12:08 AM