Friday, September 15, 2006

Little Windows: Rollin'

Driveways were the theme of the neighborhood that year. Once one house got slick and paved, everyone began hating their crummy stones and dirt. I don't remember who was first, but I know we were not going to be outdone.

One day at the crack of dawn, the monster machines rumbled in. They tore. They dug. They dumped ton after ton of crushed stone for a foundation. No, it wasn't a new airport. They built driveways to last back then.

I was five. Of course, I wanted to see what was going on, but I was a bit scared too. Guys with cigars and black, greasy fingers. They shouted over the straining engines.

See me sitting out on the blanket by the front walk?

Then, it happened. One of them took an interest in me.


Come on, little man. We'll show you how it's done.

(BTW, why do they call it a steam roller when we're at least seventy years from the last puff of steam?)

Yup, let the kid drive it!

Come on, guys. I may have been five, but I wasn't an idiot. I knew it was ludicrous. I knew I wasn't really driving the thing.

When the instructions called for gullible, you called the boy across the street. I'm sure he was looking out his window about now. He was thinking, man oh man oh man. Why is he so LUCKY?

Pu-lease, bitch.*

Just get me off this thing!

*Disclaimer: This may be an exaggeration of my five-year-old vocabulary. However, the kid did have to blow out the candles at my birthday party. Come on!)

(The "Little Windows" Series: A while back, I transferred our old Super 8 home movies onto VHS. Now I'm moving those to DVD. They're an odd record of the past. More vibrant than photos, but still distant and imperfect. I thought it might be fun to share some of these "little windows" into my past.)


Scott said...

Come on Jason. You can't tell me that you weren't thrilled to be sitting on that contraption. My kids would be loving it. I think it is so cool that the workers thought enough to take some with you.

JLB said...

What a fun project to jog your memory. :) Seeing the steam roller makes me miss my old Tonka trucks - the originals made from metal with rubber wheels!

anna said...

Loved this tiny snapshot backwards
when people weren't scared to death of getting sued.
good stuff Jason!

Flood said...

I'm surprised you didn't love this.

Anonymous said...

Scott, nope. I liked my observation point just fine. I appreciate the gesture, though, despite not having a choice in the matter.

JLB, I do look kind of hilarious sitting there. And those Tonka trucks were the best!

Anna, that's a good point. People aren't so free today.

Flood, I liked watching and learning. Being plopped in the middle of the show was never my choice.

Scott said...

That is totally interesting--unexpected. What kid wouldn't love this?

Anonymous said...

Scott, well, that's kind of the point. Because of these experiences, I always let my kids make the choice. I don't want to be the one deciding what they should or should not want.

mermaid said...

The picture is never fully appreciated till you decide how you want it to look.

anne frasier said...

that's great, jason. :) apparently that was accepted entertainment at one time. i have a few old pics of me at age 3 or 4. decked out in shorts, red cowgirl boots, cowboy hat, doll under one arm, watching the construction going on next door. and when you're that age you feel like your invisible until somebody talks to you.

fringes said...

Great pictures. Love the throwback hoodie. Thanks for sharing.

Wilf said...

I love this; you just can't imagine it happening now, everyone is so risk averse and scared of being sued. And what a thrill, what an absolute thrill to be riding atop a steam-roller. It comes second after a steam train, I think.

Jaye Wells said...

Look at you in your little red hood driving the large, dangerous piece of machinery with the strange workman!

LiVEwiRe said...

I really enjoyed reading that. Now, if anyone approached your kid you'd be calling the authorities or suing them. Maybe both! My closest encounter to large machinery was a 'model' of 'some piece of equipment' that I made from memory out of an empty tissue box and toilet paper rolls. Man, I was a weird kid. ;)

Bernita said...

Are we to believe you were that unadventurous, Jason?
Damn, I would have needed a leash!

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, and each appears to have his or her own view.

Anne, when you're that age you feel like your invisible until somebody talks to you.... That's a great way to put it! Becoming visible was when you ducked behind mom's leg.

Fringes, oh, yeah! I remember the cheap string that tightened the hood opening. Good times.

Addy, we have a steam train still in operation in Strasburg, PA (Amish County). We'll have to take our girls for a ride soon.

Jaye, brings a tear to your eye, don't it? :)

Bernita, maybe I can explain the difference better. If the machinery were unattended, I would've loved to go check it out. If I could figure out how to drive it, even better. What I didn't like is being the star of the kid show. Of course, this was an everyone-look-and-hey-grab-the-movie-camera moment. That's what I didn't like.

k l gilbert said...

Jason, I love looking out of these little windows on a more peaceful and passive time in our society... (or so it seems in retrospect)

You look darling on that big machine.

Anonymous said...

KLG, thanks. :) You're so right about the feeling these movies give. It does seem like a simpler time.

Sam said...

Very cool memory!

Anonymous said...

Sam, thanks. :)