Someone has stuck a piece of chewing gum on top of each spike on a fence near my office.
The fence runs along Fettes Row, separating the road from the slope down to my employer’s car park (or, more properly, the piece of waste ground on which my employer permits its employees to park their cars; it’s a tax distinction). The pavement here is narrow and uneven, made up of old cobblestones, imperfectly pointed. Shrubs grow through the railings, and cars park close beside, making it an awkward side of the road to walk on.
The chewing gum starts beside a long-disused gate. Taken 12 January 2005
Whoever is doing it missed a spike, buried deep in the ivy. Taken 12 January 2005
They put dabs of gum on the stubs of broken-off spikes, too. Taken 12 January 2005
Even when the uprights were broken off quite low down. Taken 12 January 2005
The gum continues over 17 fence divisions. Each fence division has 20 spikes, so even allowing for the 5% or so spikes that are missing altogether, someone has put over 320 tiny dabs of chewing gum on pointy bits of iron. Assuming that each dab represents a third of a stick of gum, someone has chewed over a hundred of them before methodically sticking a piece on each spike.
It makes me wonder. How long did this take? Did they walk by, one day at a time, sticking dabs of gum on spikes? When did they stop, and why?
(Have they stopped, or will I find two or three extra spikes covered the next time I walk that way?) Do they now have such well-exercised jaw muscles that they can bite through a walnut?
And, most importantly, Why?