I utilize Dallas Area Rapid Transit to get to and from work each day and have been for several years now. Today I’m looking outside the bus window as I’ve done countless times before, watching the houses and cars and people as they roll past my line of sight, as if it was all a familiar movie with the sound down. Something stood out for me on the way home today I wanted to share, even though I don’t know anything about it.
Here’s what I can observe. There is one particular old house on my route that appears to have once been for a single affluent family many decades ago, but evidence of upkeep and renovation indicates it’s been altered over time to accommodate more than one family, so that now it’s more like at least a duplex instead of a single family dwelling. Maybe it would even be considered a tenement building or whatever they may call it.
Jutting out from this two story structure is a front porch with a single story roof. Under the roof are two doors leading to different halves of the house. On top of the small porch roof is a Big Wheel.
This Big Wheel has seen better days. It’s not on all three wheels. It’s kind of on its side and one of the wheels is up in the air. The handlebars are askew. Its colors are faded and it shows signs of extreme sun exposure and weather damage. I’ve seen this Big Wheel before, several times. More times than I care to count. I don’t recall it really registering much on my mind before today, but it occurred to me this particular day that I can’t recall a time when that Big Wheel wasn’t on top of that porch roof. I’ve been taking this bus route off and on for at least five years, maybe longer.
Now, I have no way of knowing how the Big Wheel got up on that roof. I have no idea who put it there. I have no idea why no one in the relatively busy neighborhood has thought to get a ladder, climb up there and bring the Big Wheel down from the roof. All I do is ride by every day, and this is not necessarily the safest of neighborhoods. We’re talking south Dallas. It’s not a demilitarized war zone, but it’s also not Mayberry USA. One does not just hop off the bus and start randomly asking nearby people about the Big Wheel. I’m not gonna knock on the doors of that building and the other houses within the Big Wheel’s line of sight and start asking complete strangers questions about why a child’s toy is languishing on the roof of a porch.
If I were to do that, one of several things might happen. I might get the response of “I don’t know” from most people and little more than that. Occasionally I might get someone who directs me to someone else. “I bet Pedro knows who that Big Wheel belongs to let’s go ask him.” And I might also get suspicious responses from people wondering why an old white man is in their neighborhood asking questions about a child’s toy. I’m not a pedophile, but I’ve looked in the mirror. Objectively speaking, that’s probably the first place some minds would go if I were to make inquiries. You gotta admit it’s kinda strange, a grown man asking about a child’s toy.
I could lie to them maybe and say I wanna buy it off whoever owns it and take it home to give to my son (which I don’t have) but frankly I’m not THAT interested in finding out the actual truth. That’s not the point of this blog and truth seeking is not necessarily the point I’m trying to make here. Besides, I’m a terrible liar. I have the poker face of a cat with a canary in its mouth. I could maybe hire a private investigator to do the legwork for me but that would take money and, well, I’d have to figure out how one goes about finding a local private investigator, and let’s face it just writing a blog post about this whole thing is rapidly starting to sound like too much work for a lazy ass hole like me so doing anything more than that to find out the mystery behind this Big Wheel is just not gonna happen. So given my limited resources and general laziness, the mystery of The Big Wheel On Top Of The Porch Roof will remain unsolved, as it has been for years now. Still, come rain or shine, that Big Wheel has sat up there on the roof of that porch untouched by human beings for longer than I can measure. I started using the bus somewhere around 2007 so we’re talking at least six years, but probably longer than that.
However, I can imagine based on what I know about human nature, the laws of physics, and several other things what might have happened. I can extrapolate from what I can observe about the Big Wheel and theorize any number of possible scenarios. Some of these scenarios are going to be more likely than others. I could choose to believe one or more of these scenarios. I could tell others what I think happened and perhaps some of them will agree with me. I could invent an entire story and even describe the family that originally owned that Big Wheel and perhaps even give them names. I could explain that one day a father was arguing with his son, and because his son had misbehaved, his father angrily picked up the Big Wheel and threw it up on the roof of that porch, out of his son’s reach, and he scolded his son insisting that because he did some terrible thing, he will no longer be able to ride that Big Wheel. Perhaps maybe if his son began to shape up and behave better, his father would go to the trouble of getting the Big Wheel down off the roof, but his son never did learn his lesson and there the Big Wheel stayed. Years went by and the son grew older to the point where he no longer wanted the Big Wheel, and then his father went to jail for some unrelated issue involving drug use and losing his temper with a police officer. The son was left with a single mother now who divorced his father soon after that, but she couldn’t pay the rent to keep a roof over their head. So the son and mother moved out of the duplex and moved out of state to be with relatives. The Big Wheel was left behind.
Since then, other families and moved in and out of that duplex, but no one has ever bothered to get a ladder and take down the Big Wheel. It’s too much of a hassle for no reward. This also does single out the building. If friends want to know how to spot the house a new tenant has moved into, they can just say, “go down such and such street and look for the house with a Big Wheel on the porch roof. That’s me.”
I could tell this story in such a way to where it sounds like I know this is the truth. I could even believe it myself. Seems a likely scenario. Perhaps I got some of the details wrong, but it’s as good an explanation as any. I could tell someone else that’s how it happened, and since they’re not going to take the time to corroborate my story because it’d be too much of a hassle with no reward, they could just opt to take my word as gospel, and for the rest of that individual’s life, the story of the Big Wheel On the Porch Roof will seem as real as the knowledge that there’s an Eiffel Tower in Paris France even tho he’s never been there to experience it for himself.
Gospel. That’s exactly how gospel happens. Stories told and passed down from one person to the next, from one generation to the next, and people take it as ..well, gospel. Cuz they have no reason not to take it as anything less. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s a lie. It’s too much trouble with no reward to try and corroborate a story like that. You either believe it or you don’t, and everyone pretends opinion is fact and fact is opinion, when really it’s all just playing let’s pretend with willful ignorance.
Anyway, that’s my Big Wheel Theory.