Hubcaps

Hubcap

 

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…

…being me.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Magic

007

 

His eyes were of diverse direction. They were part sleepy, part mad. His teeth chewed words and his words ran round as if they played musical chairs.

…and we were the song performed. We were the act engaged. He hustled, and hoped and I listened and tried to believe.

I gave him some money.

I bought him a tiny bear.

He said he wanted the bear for his niece…his granddaughter,…his grand-niece. He’d give me a penny…he had three dollars…could I go in and get it for him?

I knew, of course, what this could be. What he may really be asking from me.

…but I went in and got a bear for him. I did it, of course, for free. I went in and hoped for the great niece, and for the man who may, or may not, have been lying to me.

//

When I was a little girl I hoped and I believed and I tried my very best to be all the things I wanted to see. Sometimes I waited and sometimes I created, and sometimes I prayed for these things.

You walk down the street and there he is. You play by yourself, and you find the entrance to. He/she/it is magical…and you have stumbled into love and care and wonder. He/she/it is magical and it is suddenly very real.

That’s how I wanted it to be.

//

He was gone by the time I left the store.

The skepticism of security force, rolling along on Segways. Of men filled with donuts and the urge to keep the peace.

The businesses yawning, and stretching, and starting their day. Cups of coffee and hangers in hand. Bottles of windex and the scrubbing off of finger prints.

Something made him move away.

…as I stayed there with a pink teddy bear.

//

I would have cried out. I would have held tight. I would have been certain that this was magic: a destiny that was meant just for me. Hope would whirl, and I would twist and turn in alternating speculation and adulation for my newest friend. Stuffed and tiny though he or she may be.

I wanted that moment to be real. For someone else, if not for me. For the niece, the granddaughter, the great niece of… somebody. The daughter, the son, the person wanting magic, hope, love, just like me. Wanting those things, so very badly, to be real.

I left a small note. I left the small bear…and I hoped to make that kind of magic for the next child after me.

 

 

 

 

 

Perseverance

Perseverance

Along the way there is a home that doesn’t have a lawn.  Flowers, and gravel and , hopefully, a person or two sit in place of grass.   It’s a meadow where Florida lizards dart like hyperactive children having eaten a Shirley temple film.  Where weeds are pulled along with muscles by adults wearing  lands end.

It’s all framed by a wall of brick and motor and sealed with a frosting of cement .  It’s most, probably, sealed with a kiss by a caring stone mason who did the work years ago.

…and the most remarkable thing about it all is a flower.  A flower that’s grown through the hard and the gray.  A flower that wears a fitting of cement that might as well be its shoes.  Standing in that footwear on the bottom of a New Jersey river bed.

Somehow, the flower survives, and in fact, thrives despite where it found itself.  It’s there to spread pollen and happiness, despite the hard and the gray and possible retribution by the mob.

Sometimes, I think, we are because we have no other choice. Sometimes, I think, we are because we choose to.

…and always I think there are challenges along the way as well as the opportunity to help pollinate.