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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Little boxes -- and bigger ones

Wauwatosa



I’m not talking about the pretty ones under the Christmas tree.

Driving around in a car with a dead radio and CD player has raised my awareness of the world around me. Seeing the winter wonderland is nice, as long as the roads are clear and the deer stay hidden along Underwood Creek.

But I’m also noticing those ugly steel utility boxes that proliferated in yards everywhere over the last year or so. I think they are called Video-Ready Access Devices, or V-RADs. We know them as cable and AT&T U-verse boxes. And I call ‘em ugly.

A small cable box popped up in my neighbor’s front yard one morning last summer. When I got home in the afternoon, it had crossed the border into mine. Neighbor Ellen had sweet-talked the installers into moving the unsightly thing. So now it stands, vaguely green and slightly askew, in front of the forsythia that will never grow big enough to hide it. We have walnut trees that stunt the growth of any living thing around them. I wish they’d do the same with The Steel Box Thing.

I guess I should be grateful I didn’t get one of the big honkers that goes 4-6 feet as some people have.

A little research shows that it’s possible to install the boxes on utility poles and in hidden places. At least one community got AT & T to commit to paying for $1500 worth of landscaping around each of the beasts.

Apparently, it’s also possible to put them underground, which is really where they belong. Buried. Competitors (Verizon FiOS) run fiber optic technology right up to each house, not just to the middle of a neighborhood. So it’s possible these jarringly unattractive thingies will soon become obsolete.

How did we let this happen in our pretty community? Why didn’t we at least insist that they be placed in rear yards? And what, I wonder in my holiday bah humbug-y mood, is next?

If it weren’t so cold and I so lazy, I’d start a stealth campaign to wrap the damn things as presents for the holidays.

Instead, I’ll just ask you what you think. Shouldn’t Tosa have some higher standards about what gets built and placed here? Or are you okay with anything goes?

Oh, and if you want talk about the good things, about which there are so very many (not including the big and little steel boxes but including how much better a driver you can be without audio distraction), why not send your stories to Project Resolve?

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