Wednesday, August 22, 2012

George and the Rabbits

If you've lived in or near Norwich for more than an hour you're familiar with the over a decade and a half argument/struggle/effort to build a regional Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC).

Every thing that could be argued about with its construction, its location, its necessity was argued about incessantly. It was practically a varsity sport around here.

A not inconsiderable number of our current elected (or otherwise) leadership in the city were in high school when their elders came up with a proposal that started at 4 million dollars and by the time Governor Malloy and Mayor Nystrom stopped speeching at its dedication in early June, its price tag was in the neighborhood of 22 million. We're not talking Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood at that price.

I smiled ruefully Saturday morning as across the front page of my newspaper was a photo of the upper parking deck looking totally uncontaminated by human presence. All I could think of looking at the photo and the promises surrounding the ITC was Monty Python's Cheese Shop.    

I've been at this Norwich Noodling every Wednesday for a bit more than two and a half years and have never understood the reaction of so many who think I'm some kind of a zen stand-up comedian for their amusement. Talk about 180 degrees out, sport. So I'm clear: I do this for my own amusement and if you get the jokes, so much the better. But in reading the paper on Saturday I went from bemused through bewildered to now belligerent at what is, for me, a classic example of 'we may be lost, but we're making great time.'

I'll bet some won't be smiling at how winsome and winning I am by the end of today's screed. Be of good cheer, sunshine, I'm just warming up. We're gonna have a lot of fun around here from now on and not just on Wednesdays and if that means we don't go shoe shopping together anymore, there's a lot to be said for barefootin'. You'll get used to it.

Various quotes in the article were, I'm sure intended to be reassuring and are, but only sort of  One of them  characterizes the center as 'the future' claiming it as 'our revolutionary vision.' That's as may be but I was on the upper deck in the rain Saturday morning and perhaps the cloud cover obscured visibility but I didn't see anything resembling the future, just more of the same build it and someone will come (we hope). Amen.

Elsewhere, conceding the future was, a 'puzzle' albeit one where 'the pieces are lining up' the ITC was then referred to in the future perfect tense '(the center) will be a success' (with its faithful companion, the caveat) 'provided we put in the resources.'

Someone else somewhere else in the story, taking a page 'from tiny acorns mighty oaks do grow' biology text, offered "(T)his building is a long-term strategy for mass transit in the city." From his lips to the bus dispatcher's ear. But right now the easiest thing you can do is drive to the center and park there but that, at least as I always understood it, was the very activity the center was least designed for, so now I'm worried we've repealed gravity and changed the order of the days of the week.

Make no mistake, this is a powerful building we have constructed on Hollyhock Island, nearly as powerful as the island on Lost. I was most impressed by this statement, driven, I'm sure, by profound conviction, "(T)hat facility probably played a hand in the new ownership of the marina." I love a word like 'probably'. It comes in handy when you don't have factual proof, at least none was offered in the story. Probably because there isn't any-see what I mean by handy?

There's a reference to a Rail America event in October that "may ultimately bring a stop to the ITC." And by may, we're not talking about the month before April. It's intended to offer hope and when you have no plan, hope is the best we ever to seem to ask for. We have such low expectations of and for ourselves. We deserve better than what we have right now, and make no mistake we have to help ourselves because no one else will. From a distance, it may look like I'm smiling. It's really a grimace and it's going to get a lot worse for a lot of other folks around here before it gets better. Assuming it ever gets better.
-bill kenny  

No comments: