Monday, August 08, 2005

Unforeseen Hazard

Last week on the morning ride to town, I saw a strip of dark pavement ahead of me. We hadn't had rain, but the road was wet. The wet strip was perhaps a foot and a half or two feet wide, from just to the left of the fog line, extending toward the middle of the lane.

It smelled like sewage. It wasn't just reminiscent of sewage. It was sewage. Had a septic tank truck spring a leak? Had someone forgotten to shut a valve all the way, or left a hose undrained after pumping out a tank?

I had to keep an eye on it so I wouldn't wander into it by accident, but I didn't want to scrutinize it closely enough to see corn, or tomato seeds, grayish-brown lumps or streamers of wet tissue. I hugged the guard rail and hoped that no one would drive by and splash it up.

Occasionally the wet strip would end, only to resume in just a few yards. Yellow foam was piled up down the middle of it. I could only imagine the mist of germs that hung in the air. I tried to breathe shallowly.

Eventually it ended for good. I wondered if someone had signalled the driver. It didn't really matter. At least the road was dry for the rest of the way.

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