Originally uploaded by generaltsao.
My little guy has taught me so much about trucks. I never knew quite how many trucks there were out there in the world until I met Alex. My whole life I pretty much thought it was just like... truck. Big vehicle that you can haul stuff in. In college I learned that there were specific brands of trucks--because my one friend (Andrew McLelland--are you out there? We need to get in touch!) sometimes said "it was like I got hit by a Mack Truck." I knew that trucks were super handy for moving furniture. I knew people who owned trucks were always getting asked to help other people move. Still, I pretty much thought of trucks as...trucks.
But now I understand.
Garbage truck is a very generic term, and it describes many different kinds of trucks. There's the garbage truck that's actually a dump truck. There's the garbage truck that lifts garbage cans and dumps them. There's the garbage truck that lifts *dumpsters* and dumps them. There's the garbage truck that compacts garbage or gobbles up organic stuff (like old Christmas trees) in the back. I'm sure Alex knows of other garbage trucks. I'm kind of a novice here.
Then there are cement trucks. Like garbage trucks, these come in many colors and are incredibly interesting to watch in action. Cement trucks are a rare sighting and must be studied for the entire time they are in view.
And don't forget the many different types of delivery trucks--they all rattle along so loudly, and when they stop on the street, loud guys unload all manner of interesting innards from their cavernous depths. We live next to a building with a lot of rentals, so moving trucks stop in front of there frequently. Every one of them just fascinates Alex. With certain delivery trucks, you can see their inventory just by looking at them trundling along in motion: panes of glass, bottles of water, bales of hay, cars...for a little person like Alex, these things are incredibly exciting.
We also have the pickup trucks that ordinary civilians drive. These might merit a simple comment from Alex, but not a prolonged stare. No, those are saved for the bigger, more exciting pickup trucks with railings and storage lockers that contractors drive. (Our neighbor Svi has one of those, and it's always filled with sundry construction items.)
I haven't even gotten to the crown jewel of the genre: the firetruck. It has only been through Alex's eyes that I even started to notice all the subspecies of firetrucks, from the full-blown engine with hoses, ladders, instrument panels, and dedicated staffs all the way down to the simple Jeep-type things that zip around everywhere--playing the lead at a small domestic scuffle but just providing a supporting role at a multi-building, four-alarm fire. (In reading this over my shoulder, my husband has pointed out the many subtleties of this particular genre, and I'm realizing how much I'm outclassed, and how firetrucks clearly merit their own post. That Nick and Alex may have to write in later years.)
I don't think I can even get started on big rigs.
Was it the two Tonka trucks Alex received for Christmas? Or a fascination that was going to come out one way or another, nature triumphantly asserting itself over my cluelessly feminine nurture? Either way, I'm quite happy to have the chance to see the world of trucks through Alex's eyes. Let's hope we can get trucks running on renewable resources, lest this endlessly captivating vehicle become a quaint relic of the oil days.