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Sunday, March 28, 2010


Tualco V. March

The second summer we lived in the Valley our home was broken into. I had gone to Snohomish for a few hours, returned early afternoon. The moment I entered the house, I knew something was amiss. The guest bedroom door was open, a door we always kept closed. I went on down the hall into our master bedroom. That room was a mess: drawers pulled out of cabinets, stuff strewn on the floor, all the bed sheets ripped from beneath the mattresses. At this point I felt a burst of panic, fear that someone was still in the house, afraid for my safety. Fortunately, the intruders had fled the scene. They had broken down the front door, boldly entering the house street side. I believe they were still in the house when I opened the garage door and my arrival had caused them to flee. I never saw who it was or how many, and it’s better that way.

Anyone who has experienced a home invasion knows the feeling of personal violation: low-lifes in your home space, rifling through your personal effects with crime-y hands, pulling and stripping away the very bedclothes that cover you and your wife each night. And they always take what you can’t replace. Rolls of coins they left untouched;  t.v.s, stereos, other electronics undisturbed. My grandfather’s railroad retirement watch and custom gold ring crafted in the shape of a belt buckle, the buckle made from an Alaskan gold nugget with a diamond stud in the middle: both gone along with a few prescription drugs. It is this feeling of breached security that sells home alarm systems, and while we explored that option, we never purchased one. As the incident and months distance themselves, you slowly regain your peace of mind. But never quite entirely.

Tomorrow morning an invasion of another sort will begin nearly at our doorstep. Subcontractors for WSDOT will be ripping up our driveway and the asphalt alongside the right-of-way. Thencroachinge asphalt saw has sliced down to roadbed along the project route along the fog line. Ugly machines of destruction lurk just next door.  

Logic tells you the right-of-way is state property: that is why you planted your hedge forty feet from the road’s cemachines of destructionnter line. However, I have maintained that little green space for years, mowed it, either cut the roadside weeds or applied herbicide to the shoulder.

I’ve sold honey from that right-of-way, too. A lot of it.When the fast food joints came to Monroe, I picked up and discarded their litter1979 T n T's house honey6 so I could mow. The rocks scattered there by Cadman’s gravel trucks I picked up and tossed away. Beer cans and bottles I carried off to our recycle bin. But for me—and no thanks to the DOT--this little greenbelt would be a tangled wilderness today. Hardly 4,000 square feet, I know, but after all those years of upkeep, one acquires of strong sense of ownership.

They claim that widening the road at the intersection of Tualco  and High Rock Roads will make the highway safer for traffic, lessen the chances for personal injury and fatality. I sincerely hope they are right. But tomorrow morning those hulking machines will roar to life and begin their ripping, tearing, and overall destruction of “our” right-0f-way; it will never  be the same again. How do I feel about this?? Let me tell you. I feel downright violated.

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1 comment:

  1. OK, this one made me cry. Somewhat understanding the county's need to do the work they're doing, it very much indeed feels as though something has been stolen from you. In the big scheme of things, it's a right-of-way, but in my scheme of things it's a part of the property on which I grew up. It's where I watched you mow, week after week after week in the summer, where I'd cheat and cut our walks short, where there was sure to be a fine rock to be found and also it's where some people leave the driveway when they can't see well enough to find the road. At any rate, I'm just sorry it's all happening on what used to be your barely traveled upon dirt road. It would be nice if somethings could just stay the same...