The Smell of Suburbia

Today I decided to take a walk in the neighborhood to relax my mind. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the air was tinged with the pleasant aroma of…tar?! It seems like everywhere I go I can smell tar: the tar of new construction, the tar of a roof being replaced, and the smell of tar on the shiny black surface of a freshly paved street.

Halfway through my walk I realized where the odor was coming from. The city was repaving an entire new section of road just a block from my house. This doesn’t surprise me. They’ve been working on this project for what seems like years. Only a year and a half ago they repaved the entire main road two blocks away. As of last week, it looks like they were surveying the area so they can do it again.

So what gives? Is this democracy in action? After voting yes year after year on the the ever-present Road Bond Initiative, is the city determined to pave and repave the roads in the more affluent sections of town?

Based purely on my own observations, the answer to this question seems to be yes. Though cracked in a few places, the road outside of my home is hardly in need of an overhaul. I can, however, think of areas within the city that are in desperate need of major road work. I don’t know if this is bureaucratic bungling or political pandering at its finest.

All I know is that I made a quick about-face to get away from the construction noise and the smell of tar. As I walked back the way I came, two dump-trucks lumbered by, leaving me in a cloud of diesel exhaust and asphalt dust as I ended my walk prematurely, disappointed and with a slight headache.

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