Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dust in the Wind

This big pile of yellow dust sits not far from one of the roads I regularly ride. It's down by the refineries of Wilmington. That, plus the color, makes me think it's sulfur. (Around here we see tanker trucks driving around with warning signs on them saying MOLTEN SULFUR.) I don't notice any strong smell as I go by.

I kinda think anything that color can't really be terribly healthy to have out where it can blow all over town.

I also suspect if it were really dangerous they wouldn't be allowed to just pour it out into the blowing wind.

If I wanted to learn more about it, I'm sure I could just turn off and stop by the place where the pile sits. It's a big enough pile that it's easy to spot in satellite shots on Google.


Andrew Shields said...

I think that's a different use of "they" than the one Miles was referring to. Miles was referring to the use of the plural "they" to refer to a singular subject; you are using "they" to refer to an indefinite plural subject, aren't you?


mrjumbo said...

Right you are, sir. But I've been looking for excuses to link folks to your regular poetry discussions, and this was the first opportunity I'd had for a direct nod.

Miles was referring (if I understand correctly) to the use of "they" for a single party of indeterminate gender: "When a person is waiting for a bus, often they use the time to post blog entries on a handheld."

I was using "they" to refer to parties of assumed authority but of indeterminate identity: "You can't cheat on your taxes, because they'll put you in jail."

I could go on about the nuances (how the masked "they" becomes an insidious shadow figure, or how the plural evolves into the singular "the Man," or how "the Man" gets redeemed in a Biblical parable and is re-christened "da man"), but those linguistic subtleties are probably better discussed at a different time, when little miracles aren't happening everywhere and I'm not itching to get a bike seat under my butt.

Thank Miles for his observations, and congratulations on having another sharp eye in the family!