Strange things I’ve seen … on Towers

“What is that ?  A box or maybe   …  ” I hesitated, thinking about it.   Then the wife added “Well it’s not an osprey’s nest.  Yeah … it kinda looks like a box.  You want me to stop so we can get a closer look ?”  I thought about it, and decided we needed a walk, more than a mystery to solve, particularly while we still had some sunshine to enjoy. “Naw, we’ll come back the same way and check it out then” I suggested.

We carried on to the 6th Line and parked the Honda.  I slipped the velcro cleat strips over my boots and we took our first worthwhile walk since the ice storm.  Those cleat strips saved my butt on numerous occasions in the aftermath of the ice storm.  No they’re not perfect, but they make your footing secure enough to let you get out and walk some at least.  For a few lousy dollars, I’d buy them every year, what the heay ?

So we finish our walk, and as expected, the sun was gone and the snow clouds had moved in (Oh joy, snow on top of the ice).  We returned the way we’d approached and stopped to get another look at the tower.  Now, as lovely a place as Southern Ontario is, there are these towers almost everywhere.  Every Ontarian knows them.  They’re delivering power to a lot of people, us included.  Since we all like to throw switches and have magical things happen that enhance our otherwise dreary lives, we don’t complain about them.  In fact, they provide corridors for deer and turkeys to wander from field to field for kilometers in every direction. Butterflies and other insects appreciate the artificial meadows their path provides.  “Edge of the forest” plants thrive along the edge of their cleared paths.  They provide walkers a corridor as well, but no one ever does that ‘cause it’s not allowed eh ?

So, here’s the tower in question below. If you look closely, you’ll notice a pale yellow box or something in the middle of the tower right between the middle (the longest) set of arms.  Basically, at the most central point of all the wires, and in the center of the tower itself.

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Now I’ve seen an awful lot of these towers, and sometimes you’ll see an osprey or a raptor’s nest up in them.  But a mysterious yellow box ?  I’ve never seen anything like that.  Usually, all they’ve got is a sign at the base warning that there’s up to 500,000 volts running overhead so don’t climb the tower.  Not much danger of that happening.  That fire tower was a long time ago and I’ll not be repeating any performances from my younger years (as in “The Fire Tower” in the October archives).  Ranger and I can actually identify which towers are which, and we sometimes use them to get our bearings when we’re out wandering on overcast days. 

IMG_1357

So, we got close enough to realize it wasn’t a box.  It appeared to be a sign.  Well, what in the hell kind of signage would be hanging on a transmission tower 50 meters off the ground ?  If the picture below is still too small, please just click on it and it will expand to fill your screen.

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If that doesn’t work, the sign says:

HELICOPTER

HAZARD

AHEAD

At first I was amused, then confused, and then, annoyed.  So, I tried to reason it out.  I was sure there was a nefarious plot behind it, after all, it was Hydro ! After some deep contemplation, an appropriately sleazy thought occurred to me.  I could just visualize some blood-suckin’ corporate lawyer sitting in his office behind his endangered Brazilian Rosewood desk, getting an idea.  What if some other blood-suckin’ corporate lawyer sitting in his office behind his endangered African Blackwood desk, thought up a way to sue Hydro by having his client crash his chopper into a tower ?  “Holy Crapazinga !!  We gotta do something !” he’d shout. Six months, and six billion dollars later, all affected parties would meet in the boardroom huddled around an endangered African Baobab meeting table.   Whilst lunching on 5 Star, Michelin chef prepared kakapo wings washed down with buckets of Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, they’d unveil their clever counter to the threat.  They’d unveil “the sign” and they’d all applaud and congratulate themselves for their forethought.

Then I took a closer look at the first picture.

If you look closely at it, you’ll notice another set of towers crossing paths with the signed one.  So, maybe there is a logical reason for that sign after all.  If you were flying a repair helicopter along the one set of wires/towers, in foggy or snowy conditions, looking for a break or whatever, you might not notice the crossing set of wires.  So, it’s safety first for Hydro.

DAMN !!  I desperately wanted to make fun of that friggin’ sign !  But after the ice storm, I know how hard those guys worked on getting my power back up, and I am grateful.  So, yes, safety first is a good thing.  However, did you see the Hydro executroid doing those “on air” spots during the aftermath ?   I was watching him in the lobby of the hotel I was smart enough to reserve early on the first morning.  Didja see him ?  He was sitting there wearing a bright orange vest with a silvery cross on it.  Just like a … a … real worker.  As if his Alexander Amosu Bespoke wasn’t reeling in shock under the indignity of proximity to such plebeian attire.  I can imagine his Manager of Propaganda trying to get him into it :

“But Sir, the vest will make you appear more involved with the crisis”.

“NNNNNNNNNo ! I don’t wannit”

“But Sir, the people will be impressed”

NNNNNNNNo !  It smells poopy … so do the people”.

“But Sir, there are still thousands of people without electricity”.

“NNNNNNNNot my problem”

“Well Sir … actually it … Aww screw this !  Here !  Look ! See !  See the pretty orange vest ?  See the bright shiny stripes?”  He waves the vest above the table, and then, suddenly hides it below.  Then he raises it above the table again, then hides it below.  The executroid’s expressions are those of a labrador retriever playing the old game of “Get the ball.  Where’s the ball?  Get the ball. Where’s the ball?”  One moment an elated, excited face.  The next … confused, concerned.  Then happy again. Then, worried.  When the executroid’s left leg starts twitching, and his nostrils flare, the manager draws the vest, slowly from under the table.  With a coy grin he shouts “There it is !”.  By that time, the executroid is clapping his hands under his chin like PeeWee Herman and jumping up and down like a sh!t faced spider monkey.  He grasps the vest and runs out of the room.  Next thing you know, I’m watching him on TV.

In all seriousness though, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who gave up their Christmas’ so others (myself and the wife included) could enjoy ours.  I’ve made lotsa fun of Hydro here, but I don’t want the people who sacrificed so much to think I’m unappreciative of their efforts.  I made mention above, of how we all like to throw a switch and have our lives enhanced, and how we must be tolerant of the towers to make that happen.  By the same token, we need be patient and understanding of the people who risk life and limb, often in adverse conditions, to enhance our lives.  There’s no way for me to know if any Hydro workers read this blog.  But if there are any Hydro workers here, we all thank you so very much.  If you’re a Hydro executroid, Bite Me !

Bushwhacker

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