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Friday, July 10, 2015

Six Normaphotos: Goodwill Loading

It is morning. I am confused and carrying an ugly bucket from the trash bin back to the pumphouse. I see a strange  object, a steel strut with bolts at both ends leaning against the van --the '71 van I have driven and tinkered with for 35 years and have almost got working the way I want. I ask my stunt double,"Qu'est-ce que c'est?"
"What do you think it is?" She replies in the guise of a mobile surveillance camera, "It came with the underpinnings of the kids' art table, 30 years ago, but was never installed."

"It looks important and yet, curiously, they survived," I say. "How crucial can it be?" It appears to have great tensile strength and comes up to my hips. 
"Put it in with the other items and let Goodwill Industries figure it out."

 I toss it onto the pile and watch it roll out of sight.
"It has disappeared."
I am left bewildered between an elusive mystery and my pumphouse bucket streaked with toxins. It happens too often.
"Close the door, drive to the donation depot...and get a receipt!"
"In a moment...but they..." I reply as if slipping in and out of consciousness."They will figure it out, won't they? And when they do, will the next young owners use it as safely as ours did? Will they be safer or less safe for a yard of steel and two bolts?"

"They'll figure it out. Best we can do is include all the pieces."

I return my disreputable bucket to the pumphouse and drive my cargo into the future. I trust anybody who buys an art table will be clever enough to assemble it. There's a whole world to be built and rebuilt from countless points. This is one of them.



23 comments:

  1. I doubt if you will ever eliminate the elusive mysteries, but the pumphouse bucket streaked with toxins might, with great encouragement and elbow grease, be reduced to being streaked with mere stains instead.

    I love that your wonderfully whimsical writing contains fine, upstanding points to ponder, Geo. Your second-last sentence has me thinking.

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    1. Jenny, it is my experience that the universe does not dispose of a mystery, so it is in our best interest to remain one.

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  2. How many miles does that 35 years translate to? I had the camper model with the pop-up roof...it needed a ring and valve job every 25 K miles, and a timing set every 3 K miles. It was a '72, with the same motor that was in the bug, and significantly underpowered for the weight when loaded for camping.

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    1. The bus's odometer only goes up to 9999, then returns to 0000 and has done so many times --to the moon and back x 2 or 3, surely. As you know, maintenance becomes a way of life. 15 years ago, I replaced points and condenser with electronic ignition and have never regretted it.

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  3. Much like P.T.Barnum's Museum, Goodwill Industries is an American institution - - a sort of generic curator of undefinable curiosities with pointless possibilities. Instructions are never required.

    The bucket streaked with toxins could very possibly be donated to the Museum of Modern Art. For that, I'd definitely request a receipt.......

    (if any of this makes sense, I'll be surprised)

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    1. Okay, I should have said the bucket could be SOLD - - not donated.

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    2. Jon, I believe MOMA is currently overstocked with poison buckets. Sometimes it's better to create one's own art and enjoy it at home. Besides, I'm waiting for my whole house to be declared an art installation, then set up a toll booth on the road.

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  4. The ugly bucket streaked with toxins is the perfect metaphor for my brain. How encouraging to be reminded that there is indeed a whole world (or worlds) to be rebuilt from a virtually infinite number of points.

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    1. A favorite Emo Philips quote: "I used to think my brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized what was telling me this." However, after following your blog for some years, EC, I declare your brain non-toxic.

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  5. I am sure that some lucky children will put your table to good use. Perhaps they will even use the stabilizing steel strut with bolts at both ends.

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    1. If anybody knows how to use an art table in every stage of construction, it's children.

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  6. A) The Van is marvelous!
    B) Goodwill is wonderful about figuring what to do with stuff.
    C) There can never be enough stabilizing bars on this planet in this century.
    D) The Van is marvelous!

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    1. Tom, I agree with all your points. As to A or D, you can say that again!

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  7. I like your van--35 years is incredible. The most I had a vehicle was a Chevy Silverado that I drove for 11 years.

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    1. Then you know the attachment one gets to a vehicle that can haul things. For trips and transportation, though, we also have a car from this century.

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  8. Your van is wonderful, and exactly the sort of vehicle I would have expected you to drive, dude. Have you ever noticed? Sometimes, a vehicle matches an owner's personality, and sometimes, it doesn't. That one... does. (Although I'm not in any way insinuating you leak oil or anything else...)

    It's reassuring to donate something to Goodwill and imagine other children getting as much joy out of it as our own did, isn't it?

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    1. Reassuring indeed. There is a great satisfaction in releasing furniture back into the wild. Van is on her 3rd engine --forget which one I'm on-- neither of us leak (yet, I check) . And yes, delightful Susan, Dudes haul things, important Dude things, and need commensurate vehicles.

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  9. Aarrgghh!! Google just ate my comment!
    I got a kick out of this post because I have many perplexing metal objects with nuts and bolts attached hanging out in my garage. Now I know I can take them to Goodwill and let the Goodwill saints figure them all out!

    I've had fun catching up on your recent musings. It fascinates me all the different directions you go.

    I thought of you today while Terry and I were visiting the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia today. They are truly inspiring!

    Love your van! It reminds me a lot of the one I traveled around Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain in during the fall of 1972.

    Congrats on your blog award and thanks for mentioning mine. I'm sure your answers to the questions will be the most original and enigmatic!

    Have a good one!

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    1. Thank you, Fundy Blue! Glad you were able to get this comment past Google's mighty jaws. Your van adventure and more recent trip to Butchart Gardens sound wonderful.

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  10. How many things over the years have been built in households and a part left over. There's probably a European mountain of left over parts that comes under some EU directive. I doubt that over the ocean your spare parts are formalised hence why it's been free for 30 years.

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    1. Welcome, Anna! Your theory is sound. My only excuse is it was a very busy time when we got the table and it was assembled while I was at work. However, I can't dispute Norma's declaration that the best we can do is include all the parts.

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  11. Van brings up so many memories, and wishing we had one. I hope your van has had some good times.

    GoodWill is a like an old friend.

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    1. Susan, Van has had some great times and been kind enough to bring this family along as it grew and grew up. And yes, GoodWill runs are among Van's favorite retirement activities.

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