Thursday, August 30, 2007

Men on Roofs!

In a time prior to my living in New Brunswick, there were apparently in use road signs which were designed to alert motorists that city and provincial workers were in a neighbourhood pruning and otherwise working on the local trees. The concern was that some hapless worker could fall from his perch and be run over by a motorist who was traveling too fast to stop. The signs, which became a bit of a local in-joke, apparently read:


So iconic did the signs become that they lent their name to a book of New Brunswick idioms and expressions.

I was reminded of those (sadly) obsolete signs (although I expect the arborists weren't too sorry to see them go) recently when I discovered something that I had never realized until my new office elevated me three stories above street level, with a view of the city I'd never had before:

there are men on our roofs.

And not just one roof. I guess with the waning of summer and the coming winter months, it's time for property owners to take care of matters roofal. To my initial astonishment, it seemed everywhere I turned last week and whichever window I looked out, there was another guy wandering around on a roof.

It was a bit like discovering a race of subterranean dwellers, except this group works out of sight far above our heads, clambering around from building to building in some cases.

It did make me think about how complex even small cities are, how odd it is to put hundreds of people in layers above and below each other, and how often, in cities, we are surrounded by people whose presence we're unaware of.

And how often we idly observe people who aren't aware they're being observed, in these close quarters, and how often we're the oblivious observed.

Then, having thoroughly creeped myself out, I went back to work. ;)



Blogger Brian Fies said...

Great observation. In occasional climbs atop my own two-story roof, I'm always struck by what a different perspective it provides on my neighborhood. It's not particularly high--maybe 20 feet off the ground--but it almost feels like being airborne. And of course I'm reminded of Mary Poppins' rooftop dances with the chimney sweeps. Another world indeed.

12:49 p.m.  

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