Not Roadside Graffiti

Spray paint on the road, the curb, the grass? Maybe it is graffiti, but maybe not. Someone was probably paid to produce that. That paint job probably means something to someone. This is not just an island thing, but the question has been asked often enough that it probably deserves an answer somewhere.

Utilities! We need them. Power, internet, water, lots of those things we bury because we either don’t want to see them, or because it just makes sense. Some places put powerlines above ground where there’s less digging required, hence power outages from snapped branches or occasional collisions. But it is harder to run water and sewer lines overhead. Imagine that mess. Also, imagine the mess of a mesh as various utilities intertwine as they try to serve different houses built at different times. Whoever is going to put in the next pipe or line needs to know where the others go.

So, people are hired to use various means to figure out where things are, and where there’s room for more. They check this and that, and mark their findings with spray paint or flags or whatever makes sense.

It is not just a good idea. It is a requirement. That’s why the 811 – Call Before You Dig system was set up. If you are the one that wants to dig a hole in the ground, you get to mark the area with white paint or a white flag. Somebody gets hired to come back and check what’s there. The hole you want to dig may be a foundation for a house. But real estate brokers might also call simply to put in one of those 4×4 For Sale signs. (And call them for the official word because their rules or menus may have changed.)

Calling 811 can seem silly, but if you hit a buried power cable that hole might mean more than an inconvenience. Zap!

Just because it isn’t silly, however, does not mean that 811 can’t be the subject of a silly song.

Rural Characters – an authentic Whidbey Island band from 2011-ish

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