Monday, June 20, 2011

Nervous Little Green Truck

I found him in the back lot of my workplace when I went to take the trash to the Dumpster. He was sitting behind Ledo Pizza, probably hoping for a handout or a dropped piece of crust. He was nervous and seemed a bit sad, but he didn't run away when I approached him. I could see by his tags that he was not a runaway but had an owner, but his scruffy appearance showed that he had done a lot of rough work. Not a pampered house truck by any means. He looked at me with the patience and resignation that I have come to expect from vehicles, no matter how bright and cheerful their color is. His work brings him only briefly into my world; in a few days he will go on to other toil. Good luck, little green truck.

Now you know something about me. Whether it's a balloon in a wastebasket or a mini truck in back of a retail building, or the markers I use at work, I believe that all things have some sort of "life." They don't have the biological life of an animal, but they have a story life which I perceive and respect. They are part of a little area of history, not famous relics or slick objects of admiration, but the small, humble things which make up our world and deserve to be treated well. And when they break, age out, or fail, they deserve to be treated with either repairs, recycling, re-owning, or at least a respectful farewell.

This is why, when a marker is out of ink and must be discarded, I perform a very brief "marker funeral," thanking it for its service in our sign-making studio. "Thank you, marker, for your service." I can thank even trivial objects like paper cups if I feel like it, before I pitch them into the trash. Needless to say, my co-workers think I am silly. Hipsters, manly men, rationalists, scientists, and modern civilized urban people like you can laugh at me, but I don't care.

Believing that things have "souls," I believe, leads to an attitude of care and compassion not only for human-created artifacts (which, after all, use up precious and limited resources), but for humans, animals and plants, and the earth we live on, too. But I am not a paragon of eco-sensitivity by any means. I am just caught up in sentimental imaginings. Now you know.

The Little Green Vehicle, by the way, is a Komatsu forklift, rented out by Sunbelt equipment rentals of Virginia. This emotional face is actually on the back of the truck.

And yes, this is a photograph, not an artwork by me. It happens sometimes here.

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