The relentless construction that has carried through for the better part of the year across the street from where I live has provided a focal point for so many aspects of life.
In March, after over a year of no activity, breaking ground on the vacant city block that stretches from side street to alleyway commenced.
The site was enclosed with cyclone fencing to keep the dry brown dirt and weedy tufts of grass safe from the general public, when construction began the fencing along the street front was replaced by signs that promised a home for retirees only. A haven was to be built in the city for those who could afford to buy into it, and to be erected blocks away from boarding houses and social housing provided for pensioners who can’t afford the luxury of choice.
Dust kicked up from the lot daily forming dirty clouds that hung over the area then trailed out to the footpath and swept away in the wind to scatter over neighbouring homes. Digging down is very important, foundations are needed and the mechanisation of construction began with diggers digging onsite.
As the footings dug in so did the restrictions, as the din of traffic halted the whine of high-pitched drilling began, as advertising morphed into establishing what an essential service is to society construction workers busied themselves coming and going from the site across the way. The high-density area populated with apartments and multiple dwellings showed neighbours faces in their windows and on their balconies watching powerlessly from home confinement as the power tools built to a crescendo of noise pollution daily.
Not a nurse or police officer or supermarket worker could be seen amongst the din to help verify that the construction was essential. Only an assortment of safety-colour wearing tradies who wore masks as chin straps could be seen littering the street along with the noise pollution that they created.
Escape from the deadly contagion was mandated as full proof as long as you stayed home, from the rowdy grind of construction though there was no escape.
Decisions made by people who don’t live nearby mandated noise pollution along with home imprisonment creating a bubble of anguish amidst ever-changing rules for health, safety and the institutionalisation of uncertainty. Thinking straight about anything amidst the din is impossible but makes news reports more acceptable because of the inability to question or apply logic. Any break at night from the constructed reality of a street transformed into a construction site is lost to the digging up water mains, or sirens, or nightly street congregations of the lost, lonely and depressed. Health isn’t a struggle but finding certainty in rules that change as soon as their acceptability filters through to real people on the streets is. Don’t ask, don’t think, don’t question – these aren’t against regulations but frowned upon and openly discouraged so therefore restricted in practice.
With over 2 months of no community health threat the biggest threat now is to choice and freedom, which have been removed by stealth leaving a community of millions masking their faces along with their minds, complicit in the construction of a world built to benefit someone unknown and that is filled with noise.