I saw it first leaning against a tree. The tree having no say in this. The object saying all it could but not, necessarily, truthfully.
It was round, and of plastic in the way that vinyl motorcycle jackets are of leather and in the way that cheap pocket books can be said to be of Gucci when bought on Sunday’s in a flea market’s stall.
It was meant to resemble steel.
…and maybe it, was, stolen at some point. Just then, though, it was sitting against a tree, simply a plastic hubcap. It now the normally, formally, transit equivalent of the unemployed looking for a job.
…and it didn’t seem all that choosy.
If it had arms, I was sure it would be holding a cardboard sign. It willing to work for food- work which I imaged to be it on a supermarket cart.
People adopt small, shaggy, puppies, and tiny mewing cats- which slowly learn to trust them. People take home co workers and best friends that, somehow, seem to need them. People take home pizza and Chinese and Mexican food, which somehow seem to please them.
…but doesn’t always please them, later on.
Still, I thought that a single, plastic, hubcap might be difficult to adopt.
…and I walked by it, not in need or want to give that additional form of support.
I might not have thought of the hub cap again, had I not seen it again later on. Had I seen it again later on, had I not seen it again later on. Had I not seen it nearly every day for several months…always in another place…always further on.
The hubcap was an incredibly bad hitch hiker, riding just a block or so at a time. Maybe, I thought, it foolishly spoke about religion or politics. Maybe, I thought, it argued Microsoft vs. Apple IT. Maybe, I thought, it insulted the little stickers representing the drivers family.
It could have argued about anything, but Sarah lee.
Nobody doesn’t like, Sarah Lee.
…but the hubcap never seemed to make it very far.
…and it all became a game to me. I began to search down the cities streets. I began to search under the neighborhoods bushes and beside the neighborhoods trees, looking for the hubcap. It was there, somewhere, vertically or horizontally. I’d find it if I searched for the vowels U or A or the consonants bc.
The hub cap became a well syndicated sitcom to me. One with crazy neighbors and mischievous kids. One that had been on, and was on, and still had some laughs to give.
…and I supposed the “Kids“ were behind it. The “Kids” moving the hub cap along on their way home from, or to, school. The “Kids“, the silver duct tape creating connections to answers for me.
…and I suppose the redundancy in the plot line doomed the show, eventually.
…or maybe the fate of the hubcap could be seen as a cautionary tale, of homelessness, unemployment, and lack of family.
…but one day I found the hubcap and it was in pieces by a curb. Bits of broken plastic, by some cigarette butts, and some gravel, and some older fallen leaves.
That was it, then. No more looking. No more searching for the thing.
Down the streets and through the neighborhood. Through the park and through my thoughts . In the early morning hours. In the heat and in the breeze with the red flowers waving and the green palms swaying and me…suddenly…
A hubcap is like a tie. It’s an object that’s seen as practical but who’s origin, and location, is sometimes lost.
A hubcap has a reason, is an elaboration, and it being where it is will help you move.
As it did for me.
It got me walking. It got me searching. It got me, to me. It made me more aware of who I could, who I might, be.