Monday, June 6, 2011

Coil Clock

"No. Not ready yet."

Uggh. I trudge out of the Vacuum City sans vacuum. At least the stop was on my way back from the airport. Just before I reach the van I notice a long piece of metal laying on the pavement nestled against a raised flowerbed. Hmmm . . . that's cool. Too big. This thought pattern ripples through my brain a few times a week when there's no snow on the ground. I'll spy a juicy piece of scrap metal/wood/plastic and make a quick evaluation on whether it's worth throwing in the vehicle. If I happen to be in an empty work van on my way home my scavenger's resistance is very low. A pile of muddy boards? Yep. Tractor-trailer tire shrapnel? Of course. A Free one-hundred-ten pound, out of alignment radial arm saw? I'll take.

A week later I pull into the Vacuum City parking lot, park in the same spot and notice the piece of metal again. This time I see that someone has placed it in the dormant raised bed. Hm . . . I'll have to take another look at it on my way out. After loading the vacuum in the back of the mini-van I pick up the piece of aluminum. My best guess is that it's the back step from some kind of industrial work truck. It's over 7 feet long and about 8 inches wide. The surface is riddle with a pattern holes that appear to both provide grip and allow snow, mud, and small change to pass through it. Into the minivan it goes (is an extended minivan still a minivan?) An hour later the vacuum has been dropped off and I'm back at home coaxing the giant step out of the rear hatch.

"Hey you. Look what the cab man brought home."

"Wow. I love it!"

Shhhhhhwwp! Off my prize goes into the basement workshop.

A month or so later I come home to Paula hunched over her abrasive chop saw in the driveway. After watching her finish her current cut I couldn't wait another 10 minutes to know what she decided to make.

"So. Whatcha makin'?"


My mind instantly becomes a bucket of sand. Clocks. Always with the clocks.

Weeks later I am holding an aircraft silver, industrial no-skid aluminum, work truck step . . . clock. Complete with rusting yellow grain threshing tines cold welded to the bottom. Laid out on the table to my left are nine more just like it. A painted board is attached to the inside of the clock so that maroon and yellow spots show through the holes of the clock body.

"These are amazing! What . . .. Wow. I want one. How much are selling them for?" I ended up buying two. "So, let me make sure I understand this process. I pick up a discarded aluminum beam that has been sitting under a muddy pile of snow in a parking lot for who knows how many weeks, shove it into my cab praying I don't get another call for a full hour and bring it home to you. The thing takes up residence in our basement for a month. Five weeks later your consciousness becomes aware of its purpose. You cut the step up into irresistible clock chunks and I am compelled to give you two days pay to have a pair for myself."

"Hey! These were really hard to make!"

"I know, I know, I'm not saying what you do is easy. I'm just shocked at the creative leap that turned that piece of neglected metal into an edition of clocks instead of a handrail or a gargantuan lemon zester. " Once again the power of intuitive signals has my left brain sulking in a dark corner. I have got to learn how to do this.