Look at that parking job- I said pointing at an adjacent rooftop where a the back wheels of the tiny indigo car were on the wrong side of the parking barrier, a foot from a 40 foot drop down the side of the crumbling building.
We were working with children on the roof of a building in a crowded aging city. I could see the suburbs sprawling over the hills endlessly. We had put out tubs of cornstarch and water for the children to explore. One child decided to take a swim in it.
The children come and go as they please in this city, learning what they can through the experience of living in a community, seeing, feeling, and hearing what is important and deciding what is right for them.
I am wandering through the warehouse district at the edge of a massive industrial city, down to my last dollar and looking for a likely place to hunker down for the night. As I walk along the corrugated “aluminum wall of shadowy beige in the fading light, I see a knob ensconced in a square recessed box. Without thinking I reach in and turn the knob. I immediately hear a soft mechanical whirring that grows in volume and transforms into the click and clang of larger gears as a line appeared in the middle of the wall and began separating, dividing the wall and moving the sides out revealing gleaming rollers conveying cookies several at a time from a door that slides open every few seconds to reveal another batch of round colorful cookies. Underneath the conveyors and the processing plant behind the sliding door is a conglomeration of shining gears from the almost microscopic to 2 feet in diameter all spinning and whirring and clanking musically.
As I start to move into inspect the apparatus more closely, a man’s head pops out from behind the main container next to the sliding door wearing a look of shock and apprehension.
“How did you get in here?”
“I just turned the knob on the wall outside.”
“Well, you will have to get out!”
“But, this is amazing. Did you do all of this yourself?”
“Well, most of it, I designed almost all of it and built a lot of this. I had some help.”
“The detail is quite marvelous.”
“Yes, and it runs on dark matter energy.”
“What is dark matter energy?”
“I don’t know. I made that part up. But, it sounded impressive, don’t you think?”
“That’s why I couldn’t tell anyone?”
“Yes, it really runs on electricity and spring mechanisms, mostly the gears to move things along.”
“But, it is still quite marvelous nonetheless.”