Facts of Island Life: Rust and Rough Roads

By LARRY CHALK | Jun 07, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

This is really a story about nothing. It’s kind of the Seinfeld of stories. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

When I walked down the next street to mine to the beach last summer, I saw a workman installing a large, mechanical device at the end of the walkway. Being naturally nosy, I asked what he was doing.

“Installing a handicapped elevator,” he explained.

While no one is against helping others enjoy the beach, I couldn’t help but ask him if it wouldn’t rust out, since it is only a few hundred yards from the water.

“I just install them,” he said.

I just shook my head and walked away. I have seen what the salty atmosphere does to metal objects at the shore. My neighbor installed beautiful brass carriage lamps on either side of her garage doors. Within a year, they were all pitted. This was brass. Imagine what happens to ordinary metals. 

When we first had the house raised we would have preferred a garage in the back yard but just didn’t have enough room. I certainly didn’t want to have our cars out in the salt air all the time. 

I fight a seasonal battle with my garage doors. Every year I sand them down and repaint with primer and anti-rust paint. Every year I come back from Florida and find new rust spots. This is one of the prices of living near the ocean. Well worth the trouble, though.

So, getting back to the elevators the township installed at regular intervals –  every five blocks, I think. I took another exploratory expedition to check on what a year’s exposure to the elements had done. Son of a gun, there was very little rust. Maybe I’ll report back next year. But there is still more to come.

Why is it that the county repaves the Boulevard and then we dig it up again? I have heard that the township has promised not to excavate the road only to have a water main break or a new house need plumbing. This is life on the Island and is somewhat understandable. What really ticks me off is the way the damage is repaired. If you drive in the right lane (drive right, pass left) as the police department wants you to do, you are continuously assaulted by bumps, dips, holes and other forms of discomfort.

I ride in the left lane because I had back surgery and have an assortment of rods, screws and cages in my back. The constant right lane bouncing is really uncomfortable. I can only hope if I get pulled over for riding in the left lane that an understanding officer will let me show him/her the picture on my cell phone of my back X-ray. Hopefully, there will be some compassion shown.

Until that time, I can only say to our township management: Please make the contractors fix the road the right way and make them come back if it gets worse!

I read this over again and I feel if this is all I have to complain about, life is pretty good!

Larry Chalk lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and Haven Beach.


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