Friday, June 24, 2011

One Who Constructs a Box Can Do Anything

I spent most of yesterday morning constructing a box. And, yes—I am going to blog about that box.  I suppose this small cardboard structure was no different than any other box (I speak about the box in past tense because it no longer resides in the Designer Showhouse Sale). Nothing was particularly special about the structure of my creation. The box was light brown holding minimal markings (with the exception of shipping instructions). So, now, you may be asking yourself—what is so special about this box? After all, this is the topic I chose to write about…

No, my box did not have the capability to become a transformer. No, my box did not sit in the hands of the queen or be sung to by the best-trained opera singers. My box wasn’t anything special. As a matter-o-fact, it rubbed itself on the floor accumulating dry-wall debris and dirt—a lot of dirt. I think most of the dirt ended up all over my hands and knees making me wish I wasn’t in a dress. 

My box was constructed of four pieces of cardboard and a stupid amount of tape. I spent a great deal of time matching the cardboard pieces together like a puzzle or a complex piece of artwork.  After I fit each piece together I began the mighty and difficult taping process.  I got tape on my clothes; I got tape on my shoe; I even got tape in my hair.  The frustration would drive me to stop, stand up awkwardly and wipe the sweat from my brow. 

Look Closely: You can see
where my tape ran out.
The box came to be my friend that morning. My closeness to the box over the hours was soon a disappointment as I attempted to seal paintings inside. The last bit of tape I used ended with the sound of cardboard ripping.  I didn’t have enough tape to finish my creation: so you know what I did?  I went to UPS and borrowed their tape gun (which was also painfully close to running out). In a spring dress, I got down on my knees in the middle of the UPS store.  After sealing the remainder of the box (which may be at that point been a transformer), I stood to find the UPS guy looking at me with disgust. WHAT? Do you not like my dress?

The box was now out of my hands and on its way to Truckee, California.   I couldn’t do anything else but hope that it didn’t fall apart on its journey (I wonder how often that happens). I then thought: why did this box mean so much to me? How does such a complicated process become a simple object to house other objects of importance?

Here is the solution I conjured:

A box, as you may very well know, can be the home of an astronaut, a sheriff, or your favorite secret hiding place. Your dolls, toys, books and movies have a home—one that they can return to everyday. A child can be assured that their favorite doll is waiting for them after they return home from school.  Cardboard boxes hold very precious memories—memories that hold significance in your life.

A box may as well be the equivalent of a child playing with wrapping paper instead of their gift (the fact being that their gift may never have been touched). So, where does this value on objects derive from? Who decided that a BMW is better than having a 1987 Chevy pickup?

My box is simply a box. I don’t want the taught meaning of “objects” to rule my existence; for I, yes, I created a box. The determination to create this box created context and meaning for me. So, simply put, I am proud of my box.

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