The Crane

“Oh look.  The crane is moving”

The year was 1994.  I was a sitting in a school bus at this intersection:

https://maps.google.com/?ll=42.722046,-73.675479&spn=0.002327,0.005654&t=m&z=19

Joe R. said it with little conviction.  Little effort.  Little excitement.

What he didn’t know was that I had been waiting to see the thing move since 1984.

My head had been buried in a math book scrambling to do homework on the way to high school.  I had been sitting on that side of the bus when Joe and a few other folks were catching up on the weekend’s events.  To be honest, most days when we passed through this intersection, I was either part of the conversation or staring blankly out the window.  Sometimes it crossed my mind to look.  Other times, I never thought twice about it.

The 10 years waiting wasn’t a life stopping waiting.  It’s a crane.  It’s on a track.  It’s nothing too special.  You can see it more closely here:

https://maps.google.com/?ll=42.721757,-73.675395&spn=0.002319,0.005654&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=42.721677,-73.675371&panoid=8JgO37xNV426FRk9j2xA8A&cbp=12,282.29,,0,2.35

At the top of a cliff in the river, this crane sits waiting to clear out debris so that water can flow freely over the dam.

As I grew older, I’d pass by there often on my way to work and occasionally remember to glance over to see if it was moving.

Nothing.

The story would come up occasionally with Joe or with other friends in the car.  There’d be a few laughs and I’d join in right along with them but still, I couldn’t help but glance every time we drove by.

Since moving back to Troy and living just a few blocks from this crane, I continue to check it out.

Recently, while giving a coworker a ride home, we passed through this intersection and I told him the story.  “So my buddy Joe says, ‘Oh look.  The crane is moving.’  No enthusiasm.  Just blurts it right out as if he’s saying the sun is shining.  To this day, I’m still a little irked that he’s seen it and I haven’t”

My coworker’s response… “Yea, I’ve seen it working a few times now.”

In my head, the breaks squealed, he flung forwards by the force of the stop, and I put the car in park stating, “We’re not moving until you give me dates and times that this happened.”

By this point, I’ve now been waiting to see the thing move for 29 years.  And this guy, who has maybe lived in Troy for a few years says, again, with little effort, little excitement, and little conviction, “I’ve seen it working a few times now.”

In reality, I continued driving and made a sarcastic remark about the length of time.  He laughed and even said, “Well Jeff, if I ever see it moving again, I’ll give you a call.”

Fast forward to Christmas Day of this year…

I had spent the night at my parents house and after opening gifts and having some breakfast, I told my Mom and Dad that I was going to head home a little early to prep for the Christmas festivities happening at my apartment.  I remember hesitating at the door because I felt like there was still some work needed to be done at their house.  But they both said it was a-ok to go.

I drove as I normally do with the radio piping out some Christmas tunes and me navigating the potholes and sewer covers of Pawling Ave.

I saw a local bus pull out in front of me and remember thinking, “Great.  Now it’s going to take me even longer to get home.”  Honestly the difference in time between me riding behind this bus and me getting every green light is probably seconds.  But, it crossed my mind.

We pull up to the light at this intersection and my car ends up behind the bus which pushes me into the middle of that bridge there.  I remember bouncing around to some song on the radio and flailing to the left due to some awkward “dance” move.

The world went silent…

The crane was in the middle of the track digging it’s claw into the icy river pulling out icy branches.

I was in awe.  I was frozen.  The world was silent.

By now the bus had pulled through the intersection and a beige jeep cherokee had pulled up behind me.

The jeep never honked.  I still wonder if this was because he/she was amazed by the sight too.

My silence and frozenness did not pay off for them though as I was so excited, I breezed through the light right as is was going from yellow to red.

I wonder if they even cared.

….

It may have been an odd interest.  I don’t feel any differently today than I did before Christmas but it’s a little story about the random things in life you wait for.  Hopefully your 29 years of waiting is more like 29 seconds.

So here’s to the next 29 years of random things.  What oh what will they bring.

Thanks for reading…

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