18 November 2014

The wires inside are burning

"The gentleman who first saw it says the wires inside are burning" says the guy taking a smoke break on the steps of The Pine Box. The gentleman, he's a homeless guy spending the night under a quilt draped over the sign that's restricting the parking on Minor.

What he's saying, it's all nonsense until one sees that the pole supporting the traffic light at the intersection with Pine, behind the now-removed maintenance panel, that in fact the wires inside are burning. They burn with the same smell of the time I shorted out a variable resistor, or the same time I plugged the front USB port into the IEEE1394 header on a First International Computer motherboard and left a black scar the length of the PCI bus. They burn with the color of some element we burned one day in sophomore chemistry, but not any of the ones you'd think of.

The gravity of the situation is only truly apprehended on observing that the traffic light at the corner is, in fact, not functioning, because the wires inside are burning. A car passes through the intersection (in contravention of the rule that at a non-functioning traffic light, one should treat the intersection as an all-way stop) and crossing it it is natural to think "now surely I will die". But I do not die and failing to perish it is observable from a vantage point past the intersection that smoke is pouring from the top of this pole.

As the smoke billows, fire engines are heard in the distance because the wires inside are burning.