So I would say almost every person on this planet lives with a degree of human activity that occurs above them or under them. Some people far more than others. For instance if you live in an apartment you are likely to have people living directly above you and under you.
In some places you could have a train line or a subway under your building. And even in the middle of nowhere you could have the occasional plane fly right overhead.
But when I found out the new Legacy Way tunnel (essentially a very, very expensive piece of road for the exclusive use of vehicles with engines) was being built directly under a corner of our backyard — I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
One day, soon after moving in we got an ordinary-looking letter from the Council which I knew was quite extra-ordinary.
Inside, the letter said something like a bit of our “land” was being “compulsorily resumed”.
This image is almost reassuring, but in reality the tunnel will be much closer to our property.
All over the literature they kept sending us was the words “Legacy Way: It’s all part of the Council’s plan”. And me, a lay propagandist, I looked at this wording and was appalled at the fact they thought they could get away with that. But then I thought: that’s exactly what they want: by accident or design.
And so the interpretation of that slogan was “The MAN has a plan and you’d be best to get outta the way and get over it.”
The MAN, the Council, wanted to make it clear they were doing this no matter what and there was no point kicking up a fuss. It was a fait accompli.
So reading it all, processing this all was a bit of a shock. I don’t find it such a big deal now, but at the time I was like, “Ugh…really? Some more bullshit to deal with.”
The one sweetener — or in some circles you could call it something else — was an offer of $5000. Non-negotiable. I instantly thought, “new bike!” But then I was still a bit shitty. And that money took over a year to be actually formally offered and then it took us a few months to get around to fill out all the complicated forms.
What followed were some more hoops to jump through. First we had people sniffing around the street, sometimes drilling big holes — and sometimes sniffing around in our yard.
Then we had these two dudes come and spend hours and hours taking photos and notes of our ENTIRE property while I just sat there and went, “Ugh”. When you progress from renting or living with parentals (or even share-housing your own a home) and you own something you get to sleep in and do whatever the fuck you want to, you presume “inspections” are one of those crazy violations back there in the past, you now have your castle — a little piece of one of your bullshit dreams.
But I am now gradually understanding that life is a bit of a violation. Most of the time I am just minding my own business, staying as best I can out of everyone’s way and generally keeping out of trouble, when BANG! Life just randomly intrudes and violates my intense desire to live a very ordinary “Quiet Life.”
Anyway we got a copy of this “independent report” and it was so thick you could kill someone with it. It had hundreds and hundreds of photos of our house and any stick of artificial inclusion on the property that could be damaged by the drilling.
And so that big fat drill is still months from snailing underneath our house and who knows what good times will ensue then, but maybe I will keep you informed. It is due around the time of my birthday so yeah, if the ground is already shaking I won’t need to drink so much — right?
At the end of the day I am kinda resolved to this fate. I need to be, lest I turn into some withering freak consumed with anger and annoyance at life’s incessant violations. When I was in New York once we staying in an underground apartment with a subway line underneath and I found the rumbles quite endearing. But that said: I was in New York, and I was in a place I didn’t have to live in.