“BA-THWACK! Krrrrr! Eeeeeeeeee!”
Now when you hear that and you’re merrily typing away at your home-office blogging desk, you go investigate. Barefoot, in your tracksuit pants coz you’re a blogger, but you go have a look.
What you find, in the middle of Linden Street at 4pm rush hour, is a lo-bed truck with a massive, yellow road grader on the back that’s just driven into a solid branch of an overhanging tree.
The four-metre tree limb, which is as thick as my thigh, has broken off and is entwined between the cabin and the chrome cylinders of the hydraulic pistons that work the blade. The one piston is bent, a snapped pipe is spewing hydraulic oil all over the road, and the traffic is backed up all the way to Grayston Drive.
I’ve brought my phone and I quickly shoot a couple of pics – as evidence of I’m not quite sure what yet. There are branches all over the road, leaves and twigs like a tree has blown up, oil squirting all over the place, this twisted piston that looks like a beast of a repair… And in the middle of it all, these two guys in overalls trying to deal with it.
They’re up on the lo-bed wrestling with this tree limb, trying to pull it off the truck. And you can tell that all this debris is going to have to go somewhere, and I’m keen to make sure it doesn’t go in our driveway.
But these guys don’t speak English, and besides, there is such a firing in the post for the two of them. I simply don’t have the guts to get all “not in my back yard” on them. Not now, when they’re watching their careers flash before their eyes.
Why did they choose Linden, though, when Grayston would’ve been so much easier? No trees on that route. Probably seemed like a short cut at the time.
Anyway, I leave them to it. I’ve got a five o’clock meeting to get to.
By the time I get out of the complex, the truck and the grader are nowhere to be seen. I turn left onto Linden towards Rosebank. There are overhanging trees the whole way down that road and at each tree, roughly every twenty metres, there’s a gaping hole in the canopy, like someone drove a large square thing, roughly the shape of the left side of a road grader, through the biggest urban forest in the southern hemisphere.
Just big, square bites taken out of the foliage, a couple more limbs to dodge, some branches half-severed, still hanging from the trees. Leaves everywhere, like confetti at a forest nymphs’ wedding.
No sign of the truck besides a tell-tale trail of hydraulic oil.
You can just imagine that driver sommer plunging the lo-bed into fourth and flooring it. Thinking, “Bro, we are so fired when we get to the site with this mess. Let’s just get there and get it over with. And if I take half the trees in Sandton down with me on the way there, I couldn’t care.”