I went to a concrete amazement place where they have all kinds of crushed stone aggragate and wax machinery. Fizzano concrete it's called. They are the greatest. Amazing place! They make cement blocks there of all shapes and sizes. They are amazing hounds. They have a huge yard with mighty piles of different types of gravel and crushed stone. I had come seeking gription gravel for the coming winter. Gription gravel to spread upon the slippery driveway, so we could tread with confidence in inclement weather. The main Fizzano dude in the office let me go wander in the yard. His insurance man would have said, "NO! That's against the policy you signed! You can't let an obvious wax dog and possible buffooon wander in the yard where he may injure himself!" But the insurance man was unaware and thus unable to lecture us on liability. So I was permitted to check out the whole operation. Ye-haw! Like the old days. When it was clear that if ye went wandering in the yard of a concrete operation or a lumber yard you were expected to have sense and respect for forklifts and big machines and saws and gravity and such. You were expected to have sense! To know when to stay out of the way. To be a sensible person, just simply sensible; no big deal! And the office-guy put that trust in me on that sunny day. He bestowed upon me the tacit approval that I looked as if I knew my foot from my wooden head, and that I had sense enough to wander the yard, even though I was a very small and inconsequential customer, a footnote, a trifling bit of business.
Civilization. Cement, concrete. Organized efforts at building things. Big trucks. Amazing. They had all these metal forms for making different types of concrete blocks and big front-end loaders to load and move and mash and smirl the composite aggragate stones and crushed stuff...and as I wandered I found this quarter-inch red-brown pea gravel; wonderful stuff! Far fewer sharp edges than the quarter-inch gray crushed stone stuff I had expected to come away with. This pea gravel stuff is really nice, and it looks cool too. You know once I got a flat tire on a gravel road and it was a sharp little grey piece of rock that had penetrated my tire? And boy was I amazed. The very road itself had smote my machine. I never forgot that. The feller at the shop where they fixed my tire said simply, "Some of those little stones are sharp..." Anyway, so the minimum you can buy at Fizzano is half a ton. I figured no problem, once I had loaded the truck down with a huge load of firewood and the truck never whimpered. I knew the truck was not rated for half a ton, maybe a quarter ton. It's just a wee little truck But I figured with leather work gloves on the seat next to me I could pretend I was a tough guy and it would all be OK. So I paid $12.65 (What a DEAL!!!!!) and parked the truck next to the huge pile of quarter-inch pea gravel and the dude came by in the enormous front-end loader and I handed him the pink ticket from the office. He grunted knowingly. We had an understanding. I got in the cab of the truck to stay the hell out of the way. The machine's bucket had a slot in it which the dude can open slowly to rain the material down into such trucks as they load. So he's raining this stuff into the truck, and the truck is so small compared to normal tough-guy standards that the stone is also raining onto the ground next to the pile 'cause the bed of the truck is not that long. There is the sound of the gravel falling. So I'm having secret glee in the truck thinking, "Boy this is great! I would be paying a lot of money for this much gravel if I went to the land-scraping place and bought it by the bag! Look at that stuff raining into the truck..." And this is going on and on, the pea gravel raining out of the slot into the truck and I'm thinking, "Damn, when is he gonna stop? That's gotta be more than a half ton. He's eyeballing it. Maybe he mis-read the ticket and thinks I paid for a ton. I better tell him to stop. Let me see if I can talk to him and act confident like a real cement-type guy who feels comfortable around heavy machinery and who understands gears and industrial metals of the lunch pail mornings." I got out of the truck and the dude said, "How much do you usually put in there?" I didn't want to be honest and say, "I'm just a buffoon sir! I have never hauled pea gravel in my life!" So I just said, "That's enough, thanks."
I was driving home with this wonderful windfall of material and the truck is like a loose cannon. I think the front wheels were not getting a good purchase on the road because the back was weighed down so much! I was not keeping my part of the agreement to have sense. I was a stooge, an ass. I was a person holding up traffic because my truck was not rated for the load I was hauling. I had to drive slowly in order to avoid being a hazard to the others on the road. The truck would drift towards the side of the road or the centerline in horrible long moments of frightening momentum. The steering was sluggish. I was like, "Whoah! I'm really scared now!" And I drove slow with hazard lights flashing and got home and made a quick bin with pieces of wood and cement blocks and grabbed the flat shovel and un-burdened the truck. And it was so much gravel, and so attractive, we did the flower-bed next to the road with a thick bed of this gravel. Reminds me of front yards at the shore done in pea gravel. And it looks great! And STILL we have a huge horde of pea gravel! We are READY for inclement weather. I get such a kick out of this. $12.65! This big pile of gravel! I am so tickled with this. The joys of life.
COPYRIGHT 2004 DOUGLAS CLOUD ALL RIGHTS RESERVED