Build it & they will come

Build it and they will look at you whether you like it or not.

Paint it and they will see your art for all its glory or madness or both, and they will react and often they will speak out whether or not they know a damn thing about art. And that's good. It's called dialogue.

Glue upon it and they will test the strength of your glue. Oh, yes. Especially the little ones. Yank! Yank!

Tweak it and they walk up to you and talk to you like children under a spell and they will honor you with their attention no matter what they think or say.

Weld it and craftsmen will give you the time of day and though they might say "There's a guy who's got too much time on his hands," what they'll really be saying is "I envy you all the time you have taken to craft something you love."

Carve it, melt it, pelt it with toys and little girls and little boys will screech with joy at the sight of one adult who won't tell them not to write with crayons on their boring white suburban walls. And once in a while when you get a child who hates your car... pray for that child. Pray for their already squashed creative soul.

Build it bigger and wilder and crazier than anything they've ever seen and they will introduce you to their 96-year-old grandmother in the RV across the parking lot and when you ask her if she's ever seen anything like it in her long life she'll reply with a wry smile that she has one just like it in her basement.

Create it with love and they will empty out their change purses for you. Build it and give the 7-11 clerk a postcard as a gift and when you go back in to pay for that $5 worth of gas you just put in the gas can in the trunk, she will say "don't worry about it, don't worry about it," and she won't take your money no matter what you say.

Decorate it and they will wave and smile at you as they pace you at fifty blocking traffic until they've had their eyeful.

Build it and they will come with TV cameras and zoom in on you and you'll giggle later as you watch it on the evening news, the newscasters fumbling for commentary about something so out of their realm. And just laugh at them if perchance they use patronizing language to slyly dismiss you as silly because they're afraid to enjoy you lest their audience not. If only they could see you out there on the highway being lapped up by the masses, by thousands and thousands of little Neilson ratings points whom they think buy only scandal and death.

Build it and make of it a thing more impressive than the World's Largest Ball of Twine and they will chase you like paparazzi and boggle you in a flash-bulb frenzy. They will pull over in their cars, their trucks, their massive motorhomes with cars-in-tow, they will swing tour busses off the road to let you go by so fifty retired couples from Missoula can crank up their camcorders and catch you on the fly-by.

Build it, paint it, glue to it, tweak it, weld it, carve it, melt it, pelt it with trash and with treasures. Rearrange its factory facade and take it on the road and they will buy you dinner in their restaurant. They will give you respect and they will give you their trust because with your car you have given yourself completely. They will write you directions to their house and tell you where they hide a key and say, "Go there, make yourself at home, get a shower and some rest. Here's the number of my girlfriend, where I'll be staying the night."

Build it beyond the line that some drone drew in the dirt of normalcy and they will hand you back your postcard with a pen and say "Will you autograph it for me?" and you'll think "Nooo! That's not what it's about," or "I'm not worthy!" but you are worthy and that is what it's about. It's about sharing with and inspiring people who never had a clue that you could do such things, whose TV view and commercial-eyesed, Wal-Mart generic perspective on the world never let it enter their mind that THEY could FUCK UP their car so beautifully, so magnificently.

It's about relating to people you would be hard pressed to relate to in any other way. But here, on the street, where you the artist built it and had the courage to stick it out there for all the world to see, and he the drywall contractor came, here you can talk about life and how very much, at bottom, we all have in common.

 

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©2001 Rick McKinney ALL RIGHTS RESERVED