Down in the Dips
I smelled a good story when I read the Indy’s “Sewer Odor Fix on its Way.” I went over to Calliope and Glenneyre to sniff it out myself. I didn’t trust my nose due to allergies, so I brought the dog to assist. Dogs have 300 million olfactory senses compared to 6 million in people. The dog refused to go with me. I forgot. She hates my Old Spice aftershave. Her look says it’s not hip enough for a contemporary border collie.
I wash off the aftershave and we are on our way. Neighbors say the smell comes and goes. I hope to get lucky. The dog doesn’t realize that she is on assignment. I’m trying to make our walk appear ordinary. Border collies are work oriented. They are happiest when they think they are working. And they are unhappiest when they think they’re not getting paid for it. I’m out of treats. It’s necessary to walk our daily route or the dog will get wise to the assignment. We’re undercover, even though, only one of us knows it. It was the same for Woodward and Bernstein. Woodward loved Old Spice. Bernstein did not.
The walk takes awhile to get there. The dog gets there first. Two blocks from the stinky corner the dog’s sniffing like mad. I don’t smell anything. The dog pulls on her leash to hurry me. Another block closer and it hits me. Now I pull on her leash the other way. I’m ready to dump this investigation. The dog is just revving up to the work assignment. She wins. Pepe Le Pew here we come.
No Pepe in sight when we get there. By his absence, we conclude that the sewer lift station is to blame. Experts explain, “A lift station is a low point or dip in the sewer collection system where waste water collects and is then pumped to a higher point.” Geez, don’t they know #### runs down hill. Trying to lift it is second worse to stepping in it. But we are just reporters who don’t understand fluid dynamics. I was late to potty train and my assistant is still getting the hang of it. We needed our own expert. I called Elon Musk. He was unavailable for crank calls. I was transferred to his hanger-on relative, Annie Mal Musk. “Hello. Crank Call Department, where life stinks. How may you make me more miserable?” “Thanks for taking my call,” I said. “Please hold. I’m making a get away. I’ll be back with you after 360 miles or the next charging station. Whichever comes first.”
While I waited on hold, holding my nose, I read on. There are 25 lift stations and 95 miles of pipeline in Laguna. The pipelines have no bike lanes or roundabouts much to the dismay of Village Idiots of Laguna. A Village Idiot person explained, “Not all waste is the same. Nutritionally healthy discharges need a lane of their own to move faster. Being stuck behind fast food #### just jams up the works.”
“I’m back,” says Annie Mal Musk. I answer, “Oh, thanks for taking my call. Scientifically, do sewer lift stations work?” Musk sighs. “No. There’s no scientific evidence that #### rolls up hill. Don’t be down in the dips. Seek higher ground like me. I’m off to Mars before Elon gets there. Need a lift?”
Crantz tells the Indy that he declined the outer space offer, but did find higher ground at Skyloft’s rooftop bar.