Friday, May 11, 2007

Culvert Ops

I like to pace when I talk on the phone. Even at work if it’s a cell phone call that doesn’t directly require a computer screen, odds are I’m moving from room to room. Add in the possibility of good weather and the odds are even higher that I’ll be making circles around the building as I gesture uselessly to the person on the other end of the conversation.

Wednesday was a particularly beautiful day here in St Louis. I called my Aunt Gimpy to wish her health and wellness prior to her surgery the following day. I made my circle around the building and then, not wanting to retrace my steps, took off for the small line of trees that divides our parking lot from the folks across the way. Tucked away amidst these trees is a concrete drainage culvert that whisks away the rain water. It’s not a scenic brook, but it’s the closest thing I have at my disposal. So, I went down there to continue my pacing as my Aunt filled me in on the increasing levels of confusion and apparent incompetence at the hospital. The trees smelled like greenery and the water sounded soothing and if I closed my eyes I could almost forget that I was surrounded by an industrial park.

The only problem with my pacing spot was that due to the sloped sides of the culvert, I was given a relatively small area in which to make my conversational laps. So, in order to increase my range and also to satisfy my natural curiosity, I started following the water. At first I tried to walk on the concrete sides in a straight line, but this hurt my ankles due to the incline. I improvised a zigzag pattern in which I would jump the water, arch a parabola up and down the other side and repeat the process on the original bank. It was less strenuous than it sounds since the angled concrete encouraged this sort of arch and the “jump” was really just a glorified step. All in all I was pretty pleased with my solution to the problem. I was having an adventure, getting some exercise, and talking to my aunt all at the same time.

Around a few bends in the culvert, I came to a point where the water disappeared under the road and into a tunnel. As I approached, I fully expected the water to shoot under the upcoming road and then shoot back out to open air. I would simply continue my water-following trek on the other side. However, it soon became clear that there was no light visible down the tunnel. In fact, on the side of the road was a parking lot and large building. The tunnel’s destination was a mystery.

Now, I should admit at this point that tunnels stir something magical in my soul. As one who started caving with my Dad around the age of five or so, there is something overwhelmingly inviting about a mysterious hole in the ground. Sure, I’d rather it be naturally formed…but a six-foot by six-foot square passage leading into the earth almost just as cool.

I crossed the road and meandered my way behind the building, hoping to find where the tunnel exited. No luck. The grade seemed to have changed, so the odds of the water making an escape from the darkness was rather slim.

As I continued chatting with Aunt Gimpy, I began a mental list. I’d need a flashlight, wading boots, a change of clothes, and a camera (you know…for Wordless Wednesday just in case there’s something cool back there).

I then used the sidewalks to return to my office for the rest of my conversation.

Anyway, I barged in on my network admin today to see if I could borrow his camera. I knew I wanted to write this post and figured pictures would aid the story telling. He agreed and opted to tag along for the photo shoot. Now he’s just as excited as I am about the tunnel. We don’t really expect to find anything outrageously exciting… but come on…could you resist this?

Also, Aunt Gimpy came through her surgery just fine. She now has a shiny new pacemaker to show off. And as a gadget guy…I look forward to seeing it.


Émilie B. said...

"To be continued..."?! *stomps foot*

I like the new design and background colour, very classy. And that cutey Norah banner... it tickles just looking at it.

JET said...

Dude I want to go. I wll put a sign up for the customer's that says "On Your Honor." we can trust them right?
But alas, i will just have to settle for pictures. I always miss out of big kid fun

Moksha Gren said...

Emilie - Thanks. I'd been complaining for some time about the fact that blogger wouldn't let me change my banner photo ala Mark and Simon. Turns out New Blgger can...I just had to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to upgrade my template. I'm much more pleased with the result.

Sorry to tease you with the cliff hanger. I'd post the rest if it had happened yet ;)

Jet - Look on the bright side, bro. We'll probably just get attacked by ROUSes or sewer gators and then you'll be glad you didn't come.

Mark said...

Rodents of Unusual Size? They don't exist.


What a great adventure. I bet you find a bunch of oversized fast-food cups who couldn't hold out nearly as long as the mighty Blue Straw I've been chronicling.

I seriously would totally lose it if you hit the mother lode.

I can't wait to hear the rest of this adventure, as I'm a tunnel lover myself.

Okay, that didn't sound quite right.

(digging the theme, by the way)

Mark said...

Props on getting low for the "stream" shot, by the way. Getting low is the first major step to getting photos that don't look like everybody else's.

Simon said...

Riding on the coat-tails of Mark's last comment, the natural comment to that is, "You've taken your first steps into a larger world."


I too am digging on the theme and the cutesy Norah banner. I assume that's Moonshot assaulting her belly mercilessly? Bellies are nearly as irresistible as cheeks, you know.

I recall going spelunking as a child with my mother in the Rockies one year, and the cave guide took us to a very remote part of the cave and had us all turn our head lamps off. I have NEVER experienced such pitch blackness before or since. Caves are, indeed, way cool.

One Wink at a Time said...

Mokker, what a fun adventure this post is. I've been away too long and everything is new and shiny here. Norah just keeps getting more smoochable. Anxious to hear how this trek unfolds.

Mark said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to say something to your lovely wife.

Happy Mother's Day!

Mouse said...

Allow me a moment to interject the voice of practicality (and paranoia). I do not think you should go into said tunnel. It looks dark and scary. You could end up floating down the Missouri like a piece of driftwood, getting fished out by some lonely woodwife and forced to be her love slave. And you know what's downstream from Missouri? ARKANSAS! Trust me, you don't want to be the love slave of some hillbilly woodwife.

(Tee hee)"Never go in against an Arkansan when death is on the line!"

Moksha Gren said...

Mark - It did not escape my notice that Friday seemed to be the day for pictures of concrete drainage. I could say that great minds think alike...but the truth is probably quite the opposite ;)

And thanks for the nod on the photo. It was fun to take since I was using my network admin's high-dollar point and click. He was standing to my left at the top of the concrete...shifting nervously as I lowered his camera about a half-inch above the water. Fun times.

Oh, and if Moonshot doesn't make it out here to post a comment, I know that she appriciated the comment when I told her you had posted it. Thanks.

Simon - Yeah, I'm really liking the banner too. Problem is that I like those shots of Norah so much that I get stuck looking at them when I come to check the site. She's so cute she's hurting my productivity! And yes...that woud be Moonshot attacking the exposed belly.

As to total darkness. When we'd go on family vacations, we'd alwasy make sure to hit a comercial cave or two along the drive. One of my great joys was to plan ahead and wear one of my glow-in-the-dark grotto (cave club) shirts. When the point in the tour came in which the guide would turn off all the lights to show everyone "total darkness"...all folks could see was my damned shirt mucking up the effect. Yes...I was obnoxious even as a teen. Perhaps I should feel bad about that, cuz it really is a cool feeling and that might have been some of those people's first and only shot at it. was funnier my way. ;)

Linda - We kept your seat open while you were away. And yes...she keeps getting cuter (in my totally unbiased view).

Mouse - Boo Practicality. Hurray Tunnels!!

And what's wrong with being the sex slave of a Arkansas lady. Any complaints, Mark?

Besides...the odds are that I won't float down to Arkansas or even make it as far as the river. I expect there's probably a grate back there somewhere to filter out all the larger chunks of debris (such as people). And if not, there almost has to be a grinder or a place were the tunnel is totally filled with water. No...I suspect the worst case scenarios more realisticly involve getting pinned against the grate when the water level rises unexpectedly or a drowned and bloated (and possibly chopped up) Moksha floating down the river. And that won't be any fun at all for that poor woodwife.

See, Mouse. You were silly to worry ;)

mouse said...

Oops, sorry, didn't know that a fellow poster was from Arkansas! Hope you were not offended by the hillbilly joke, Mr. Mark, sir.

Simon said...

Mokska, your bloated corpse comment made me think of the Bikes of New York. Inevitably. I think it's safe to say that Mouse was way off the mark when it comes to worse-case scenarios. I was about to get a little more detailed, but decided this wasn't exactly the forum for it.

Huzzah for being a sex slave to an Arkansan woman!

75percentFunny said...

you reminded me of a passageway underneath I-270 in St. Louis nearby my best friend's house... we went exploring underneath it one evening. His older brother wrapped some tshirts around a large branch and dipped it in gasoline for a torch.

We saw some evidence that a human had been living there. This combined with the noxious black smoke was enough to end the journey for me...