On Sanitary Sewers, Ungodly Noises, and Angry Rats

After an hour of grousing about the 120-decibel roaring emanating from a truck owned by DownUnder Municipal Services, I decided to venture out and see what the hell the ruckus was all about.

After all, a person can only stew and grumble for so long in one place before it is useful to seek another place suitable for stewing and grumbling, and it was evident that my efforts to edit a pair of articles I plan to submit to an academic journal would be fruitless in the cacophony.

The company specializes in the cleaning of storm and sanitary sewers, and it appears that my house happened to be in close proximity to some sort of sanitary sewer-related backup. I took the liberty of inspecting the progress while the truck left to refill its water tanks at a nearby fire hydrant.

By the way: I think the term "sanitary sewer" is an oxymoron, as these sewage disposal lines are anything BUT sanitary.

As a kid growing up in Detroit I would not have even hesitated to climb down into a sewer like this, and one time my friend Tim Wagner and I walked through the storm sewer under Ford Road from the Rouge River all the way to the Southfield Freeway. It was only when we encountered an angry rat that we scampered all the way back to our subterranean entry point at the storm sewer's outlet into the Rouge.

In retrospect, it is amazing I managed to survive childhood, given the amount of time I spent hoisting sewer lids and crawling around in places just oozing with bacteria and viruses.

Speaking of rats, the other day my 19-year-old son told me that he managed to disentangle one of our Puggles from a "baby possum" that the dog cornered and caught. He proudly led me to the new city trash can in our driveway, whereupon I opened the lid and came eye-to-eye with the largest brown rat I have ever seen staring back at me.

Well, since the blasted rodent was already dead, "staring" is a rhetorical stretch, but I am sure you know what I mean.

As I composed this post a nagging thought dawned on me: what if the backup and/or cleanout process caused my basement to flood? I paused from writing to run downstairs to discover that, no, flooding did not occur at Ch√Ęteau Brooks, and the only item running out of control was my paranoid imagination.

A relief, that.

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