Cranes, Vets, and Buildings

This man was angry. He wore the uniform of the neglected vet, but his fatigues are too new. His boots still shine. He picked through the trash with his left arm while his right hand held a 6-string guitar. The case was leaning against the bus stop bench.
This building has been under deconstruction since I’ve been here. It used to stand out like a cartoon, in an otherwise grayscale city, with it’s fat curves and small windows. You could see the smell of india food emanating from it. Two years ago someone started gutting the building. I wasn’t sure what you could put in someplace that looked like that. But you gotta admire the character. So I was a little depressed last month when it was obvious they had trimmed the curves and straightened the walls. They were making more like everything else. But today, … today they apparently have chopped out half the building. The top floor and a half are totally gone. Gaps in the plywood barricades show a building gutted to the walls. And a sign hangs on the front saying “space for rent”.
They erected a new crane across the street, this morning. I knew they would — I had seen the plans at work a couple months ago. I live so on the edge that I don’t know if it will be an apartment building or an office building. We really don’t need either. Office space is plentiful right now, and no one in this neighborhood could afford new apartment rates. This is one of those cranes that goes up in stages. A small, five-story crane is used to erect a fifteen-story crane. The fifteen story crane is then used to assemble the stationary crane. These things are colossal, immobile towers, 20 stories high, with a spinning arm at their head. The building goes up right around them. I’ve never been around to see how they extract them from the structure after the floors are all up. I guess I will soon, since there are two of them within a block of me now. These cranes are like zits. They appear for a while, all greasy and loud. And when they go, they leave a nasty scar of a building behind. Another grayscale building.

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