Trailer as Metaphor for Lifeposted: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
This trailer is a metaphor for many things.
This trailer is a tool. Through this process of rebuilding the trailer, we’re building relationships. One weekend, a total stranger volunteered to work on the trailer. Brian had been to just one Eat for Equity, and although he hated to cook, he loved to work with his hands. And when he heard we were looking for help, he offered his – even though the work was happening over a weekend on my parents’ farm two hours south of the Twin Cities. He joined a crew of five others, and by the end of the weekend, bonding over power tools and travel stories and jokes, we’d all become closer friends. And we’d turned a corner with the trailer, finishing the framing and sheathing in the front of the trailer.
“This is trailer is like my relationship,” said a friend going through a breakup, while uncovering the damage in the one corner of the trailer that we thought was solid. “You fix one thing, and then you realize another thing is broken.” We’d been working under the assumption that the bathroom corner was solid, since unlike the rest of the trailer, the plywood flooring looked strong and the insulation was dry. But this last work weekend, we started exploring the outside corner, just to be sure.
I immediately wished we hadn’t. When we peeled away the facade, we found that the previous owners had stripped back the corner from the outside, pieced in some patches of thin plywood, slapped on some glue, and left the floor to rot underneath the shower. The wood had actually decomposed to the point of powder. And I felt sick all over again – the same feeling I had when we were uncovering the damage the first time.
Which brings me to another metaphor. This trailer is like Pandora’s box. You wish you hadn’t started digging, you wish you could go back to not knowing, quickly push back the vinyl, seal it shut, and pretend you hadn’t just uncovered a small pile of powdered wood and mold. But you can’t. At least, I can’t. And I can’t believe the trailer’s previous owners could do just that.
In the myth, Pandora’s curiosity leads her to open the vessel that she’s been instructed by the Gods not to open, and all evils of the world escape. She rushes to close the box, and is only able to keep in one thing – hope:
Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
And you know, hope remains for us as we work to make an unbreakable house. Yeah, if we hadn’t bought a rotten trailer, we could have been on the road by now. If we hadn’t bought a rotten trailer, I could be spending more of my time on building branches and fundraising and less of my time learning how to build a house [and I might also have lot less fiberglass and mold in my lungs].
But if we hadn’t bought a rotten trailer, we never would have met Brian and others like him who have helped move us forward. If we hadn’t bought a rotten trailer, my friends Josh and Matt would never have spent so many weekends down at the farm – so many that my parents’ joke they have two new adopted sons. If we hadn’t bought a rotten trailer, I would probably never have learned how to use power tools, or learned that there are so many sexual innuendos in construction, or that my friends are so generous with their time and surprising and useful talents.
We’ve got a few more work weekends to go before we can move our trailer to our dealer, who’s offered to work on the interior. And if you’ve got a surprising and useful talent, or a little time on your hands, we’d love your help – please let us know at email@example.com.
Thanks to Matt Sand of Rogue Arc, Matthew Hauck, Brian Holtemeyer, Brianna McMichael, Josh Tolkan, Sarah Oppelt, Lynn Tienter, for their help so far, joining the running list of so many others who have helped, including Sam Bardwell, Jesse Eustis, Jen Pelletier, Nancy Rosenbaum, John Torgrimson, Pat Torgrimson, Neale Torgrimson.