Memphis Malaise

The trip over there went as well as could be expected, but it was a strange glimpse for me into what felt like another state altogether. East Tennessee has the Smokies, Middle TN has the foothills of the cumberland Plateau, and West TN is nothin' but flat and marshes. I never really got a handle on where anything was over there, due to the complete lack of geographical reference points. I'm used to giving and receiving directions with phrases like "At the bottom of the third hill, take a right" in them. I honestly don't know how all you "flatlanders'" out there do it.

The city itself was pretty groovy though. It had this vibe that's hard to explain...sort of a hopeful-despair. We went downtown the night of our arrival and checked out the Peabody Hotel. Really swank stuff there, beautiful elevators, but on the Lobby floor, far-left one, it's PI is hung above the entrance crooked. I'm happy that this is not one of "Our" jobs or I'd've had to hang my head in shame. We went down an alley just across the street to a place called Rendezvous. It was my first experience with a dry rub on ribs, and I must admit that I had to stifle the urge to "smack my Momma" for feeding me as poorly as she did all those year's. Just Damn! them was fine victuals.

A couple of blocks away from the opulence of the Peabody, there stood a fine figure of a building. (I really need to invest in a good digital camera so I could share it with you.) It is a towering brick structure that rises 30 stories or so. It's the type that has a stairstep effect every fifth floor or so, that lends it an air of elegance. Probably erected in the 1940's or so. It's boarded up solid at the street level. No lights shine in any of its windows, and it's been that way for some time. According to our local guy, this building that I would describe as "regal", has been voted #2 on the list of Memphis' Ugliest Buildings...these people got no class atall.

This type of thing permeates the entire city..."uptown swank" sits next to "abandonned dank" at every turn. One of the elevator's (it's a bank of two actually) that we were sent down to help out with is in a building that's sat empty for ten years. These five-stop hydraulics have been sitting on their buffer stands for that entire time, and we're there to revive them. New pump unit's, controllers, CAr Operating Panels, hoistway door tracks, car header/gate track, and new door operator's. This town is kinda noted for its proximity to the Mississippi River, and the humidity that permeates everything. The entire cabs of these cars were constructed of wood, and wood + humidity = rot. The guy that was taking the old door operator off of one of the cars made the mistake of stepping onto the wooden ceiling when he was working, and damned-near took the whole cartop down. There's no way that I can think of to place a new header and operator up onto car walls that are crumbling as we speak, but the office would like us to "get the car's running, and we'll worry about the cab's later". Not gonna happen. The "New construction" job we were also to "pinch hit" on didn't have anything for us to attach our rail brackets to. They'd scabbed a 2/12 stick of wood between two pieces of 2 inch metal studs with some drywall on it, and expected us to hold up rails for a 3500lb commercial elevator with that. That rail's gotta support around 400lbs of lateral we need some structural steel, but the contractor's balking at it. Ah well, we could've had this one in a running platform (or damn close to it) in a couple of day's, but it's just not to be.

The worst part from this trip has rubbed off on me, and I find myself second guessing everything here lately. The old "Did I do it right? vs. Was my intention perceived correctly?" equation. It's led to a general malaise that I've been pushing through for the past five day's or so. There are only three solutions to this type of thing: Stimulating work, Liqour, or Nicotine...Stimulating work has been at a dearth, so which of the other two do you think I've been up to more lately? Sure, it's counter-productive, but it staves off the "lonely".