Thursday, September 24, 2009

canyon math

emigration canyon is a numerical mess.
it's giggle producing, actually, once you understand what's going on.
and it took me a while to understand what was going on.
it actually took a ride in the sunshine last week, and an extremely helpful sign at a construction site.

there is a house about halfway up the canyon that was, a year and a half year ago, bank-owned and forlorn. it looked as though the owners had added on to the house, then perhaps run out of money before they could finish the project. a new large attached garage was driveway-less, and there was no front yard or landscaping to speak of. the standard, black metal mailbox on a post by the road had stick-on numbers that read 4050.
then sometime during the early spring the For Sale sign disappeared and signs of life began to appear here and there. the driveway was poured; sod was laid. the windows were cleaned and blinds were hung. a few trees were planted; the house began to look like a home. before long it was clear that people were lovingly caring for this house. late in the summer an umbrella and outdoor furniture were visible atop the flat roofed garage, and about that same time I noticed that large, rectangular-backed, artistic house numbers had been hung over the garage door.
but something was funny about those numbers.
they didn't match the numbers on the mailbox.
it took a few daylight rides for this to sink in, and I kept thinking I was just confused.
then last wednesday I stared at the numbers as I rode past: 5548, and then the mailbox, 4050, just to imprint both in my brain.
I kept pedaling, thinking to myself that perhaps 5548 was a very meaningful number to this family, or maybe they were house numbers from their old beloved home, or maybe it was a combination of their birthdates, or . . .
it tickled the back of my brain for another hundred yards or so when a large piece of plywood, propped up on the left side of the road, caught my eye. someone had used spray paint to write the following on that board:
old 4353 n 5639

the road was being renumbered!

okay, who does this kind of a thing?
here's a perfectly good road with lots of excellent house numbers assigned to it that have existed this way for decades. now, all of the sudden, everyone has to change their house number.
I don't know.
but at the moment, some mailboxes have old numbers and some have new and I pity any stranger who tries to find an address they're unfamiliar with.
me, personally, I enjoy the chaos.
there's something wonderfully messy about it, this state of inbetween.
it could be that I love the surface confusion because I know it's temporary and explainable, as opposed to a situation that appears disorganized and cannot be readily explained.
because as much as I like to giggle, I am not big on messes.

emigration canyon road's great renumbering brings smiles to my being each time I ride past mailboxes with old, new, or both sets of numbers on them. I have empathy for those with carved stone and funky or original house number signs: I'm sure these will be difficult to replace.
but hopefully all homeowners will eventually find fitting representations of their new numbers, and we will all adjust and acclimate to the new paradigm.
and then it will all settle down, the giggles will recede, and someday, I'll barely remember this magical time when emigration canyon's numerical comedy brightened my rides.

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