Friday, February 15, 2008

What We Don't Have in America #9

#9 Crumbling Steps

These are the steps that lead up to our apartment building. Even when they aren't covered in ice they can be extremely treacherous. They continue to erode away day by day to the point where they have become more of a bumpy ramp than steps. So why am I doing a blog about crumbling concrete steps? It's not that there aren't any broken steps in America, but I came from a city where a raised crack in the sidewalk could be grounds for a lawsuit. If a tree root happened to begin lifting up the sidewalk it wouldn't be unusual for the city to paint the offending bulge a bright orange or yellow and possibly post a sign that says something like, "Caution! Tripping Hazard!". That is of course until the city can get a crew out to grind down the offending sidewalk crack or edge that is posing a grave threat to public safety.

I have to laugh every time I watch a woman in stiletto heels struggle down the steps holding on to the flimsy rail for dear life (that's only after I've successfully navigated the very same steps of death myself). I laugh only because I can imagine the very same steps being in California with a line of people at the top preparing to take a "fall" so they could sue whoever allowed this menace to society to remain in existence. I won't even mention that this walkway makes no accommodations for the handicapped, but that's a whole 'nother story. The fact is that hundreds of people use these steps and I bet not one of them has ever thought about a lawsuit. I'm not really sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, because like it or not lawsuits are probably why you won't see crumbling steps like this in America. Personally, I don't really mind the crumbling steps, they still work (sort of).

Another thing you'll most likely never see in America is a tree branch sticking out of a manhole to warn drivers and pedestrians of the impending danger left by the missing manhole cover. Those of you who live here in Ukraine know exactly what I'm talking about.


Anya said...

oh gosh. that is the sad truth. i do wish somebody had the time, the guts and the energy to sue authorities for stuff like that.

Greg & Edna Silva said...

Hey I'm not complaining because in the last few months I've seen roads paved, bricks laid to make nice sidewalks, and the recent completion of the "Вокзал Overhaul". They took down the hammer and sickle on our run down train station and gave it a complete make-over. It looks absolutely beautiful now with a new Ukrainian freedom symbol proudly displayed on it. (It almost looks as nice as the train station in Чернігів.) So I guess I can live with our crumbling steps. "Все буде добре."


Erik and Marina said...

Great post guys! We have plenty of those in Chernigiv. Well, at least you have a rail...