Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Wrong Thinking

Obviously I don't possess the right mix of psychoses or carry around the right admixture of loves and hatreds in my little bosom, because when I check the melodramatically-named "Stimulus Watch," a helpful list of proposed spending projects for the stimulus bill, I neither vomit with rage nor cackle with scorn.

What I see is a lot of items that fall under the category of "civil engineering projects" -- repairs, improvements, expansions, extensions, and restorations of roadways, sewers, pipes, bridges, trails, intersections, lines, grids, plants, buildings, parks, tunnels, facilities.

Unpleasant flashes of lightly-attended government meetings flash before the mind's eye, and while that eye glazes over, I am not moved to a scat-throwing snit. My basic reaction is something like, "Wow, what a relief I didn't pursue a career in civil engineering, because I think I would have died from boredom by now."

The over-chewed counter word "pork" doesn't suggest itself. These things are dull, but I am also aware that they are the physical manifestations of civilization, and they are not free. They are also prerequisites of commerce as we know it. Retailers in Vancouver, Washington know their odds of enticing Portlanders into their stores and lots increase markedly because we don't have to swim across the Columbia River to get there. We can drive! There and back! On smoothly-paved roads atop sturdy bridges -- and that paving and that sturdiness is someone's paid work.

I am very glad people do that work.

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