Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In The Midst of Chaos...Beer!

The news from the "big city" lately has been nothing short of horrid and distressing. Besides the arrival of several long awaited snowstorms, there have been fires, bomb threats, police activity which included a need for the swat team, pedestrians run over by streetcars and the most recent and saddest, an officer down, killed by a suspect driving a stolen snowplow. How awful. My condolences to family, friends and fellow officers.

In the midst of all this chaos, I have been following a news story which has provided me with some amusement. For a number of days now, there has been a traffic issue west of the city. The reason? Six giant beer vats are being transported from Hamilton to the Molson Coors Brewery in Toronto. The vats are 45 metres long, 8 metres high and 7 metres wide and are said to be able to hold the equivalent of six million bottles of beer. That's a little more than I could drink in a lifetime and about a fifth of the amount consumed annually at Munich's Oktoberfest.

The route was carefully planned to avoid overpasses and cause minimal hydro, signal and cable outages. The vats left for their destination last Friday, January 7th, have been travelling during the night and parking alongside the road during the day. They are moving at a rate of 12 km per trip. A snail could slither faster. The vats were scheduled to arrive at their destination yesterday, Tuesday. They didn't. The reason for the slow rate is that hydro wires need to be raised out of the way as the vats progress. Sometimes, poles need to be removed and resoldered. Last night, the vats stood still in anticipation of the latest snowstorm.

Each morning, I tune in to Breakfast Television in anticipation of the latest movement report of the "Beer Vat Convoy" as it's been dubbed. I find it fascinating. It invokes all kinds of images in my imagination. In fact, it occurred to me that this would be a wonderful title for a new reality t.v. series, certainly as fascinating as "Village on a Diet" or "Stars in Rehab". The show could include the true confessions of the convoy drivers, the trials and tribulations of the hydro wire lifters, the innermost thoughts of the mechanics and pole welders and the frustrations of the rush hour commuters who have been narrowed to one lane of traffic. I think I'm on to something here.

One of the hosts of BT said that there have not been a lot of complaints about the beer convoy inconvenience. She went on to ask "would people be as tolerant if they were prune juice vats"? Funny.

It's all about the beer...Oktoberfest.

Today, I decided I'd like to see the vats. Is it something I need to add to my bucket list..."beer vat convoy viewing"? No. But nonetheless, it's a sight that is out of the ordinary, not something one would likely have the opportunity to view in a lifetime. I want to be one of the people who sees. Now I need to figure the logistics of how to make an unnecessary trip from east of the city to the west side in January.

There are those who would say, "beer vats, who cares?"         

To them I respond, "You just don't understand."

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