Homeless in Vancouver: Changing side street lights is no joke

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      A bucket truck of unknown provenance, with its crew of two, performing maintenance on a side-street lighting fixture, made for a little light drama Thursday evening (February 20).

      Call me easily amused but I had never witnessed any interaction with the distinctive, dual globe-topped street lights that line Spruce Street, north of West Broadway.

      The novel sight held my attention for at least 10 minutes; then it kind of bored me, to be honest.

      At first I was just curious to learn what a bucket truck—with its rotating amber light flashing off the surrounding condos—was doing at the quiet intersection with West 8th Avenue.

      …one to hold the camera and two to change the bulb

      The careful handover of the delicate-looking, globe light cover at 8:37 p.m.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      For the first several minutes I spent observing them, the two hard-hatted and head-lamped workers did little to illustrate their purpose.

      One of them stood in the bucket, raised to the level of the street light’s fixture and the other stood on the sidewalk beside the pole of the street light.

      Both their headlamps (and thus their interest) were directed toward the light fixture but otherwise, neither did much in the way of speaking, or moving.

      Finally the worker in the bucket put both their hands on the equator of one of the globe lights—as if they were trying to lift it.

      This suggested that the object of the exercise was to replace the lighting element inside one of the street lights. And when I thought about it, the globe that the worker was holding on to did seem the less-bright of the two.

      Looking into the Cosmic Cube—er, Cylinder, at 8:38 p.m.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The worker then accompanied their hand gesture with an even more illuminating statement that was loud enough to be audible half a block away:

      “This is supposed to be easy!”

      Confirmation that I was basically witnessing an attempted light bulb change came two minutes later when the bucketed worker finally succeeded in detaching the globe from the street light.

      There followed a methodical bit of business in which the bucket was slowly lowered so that the fragile-looking light cover could be carefully passed to the worker standing on the sidewalk.

      The handover had a kind of ethereal quality, I thought.

      Interestingly, removing the globe revealed not the naked lighting element one might have expected, but rather a translucent cylinder that the lighting element was apparently secured inside of.

      The lighting element—whether incandescent bulb, LED diode, or radioluminescent tritium—is disengaged at 8:40 p.m.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      That the street light’s multilayered design was testing the patience of the worker in the bucket was clear from where I stood observing the “action”.

      My own patience only lasted the additional two minutes that it took for the worker to puzzle out how to remove the lighting element from its cylindrical sleeve.

      When that was accomplished and the street light went dark, my interest was likewise extinguished.

      Barring a mishap, I knew that what would follow would be what I had already seen—only in reverse and considerably sped up, one had to hope.

      Unfortunately, because I did not stick around I cannot say if every identical street light on Spruce received the same careful attention.