My son loves trucks and buses. He can spend an hourlong drive in meditative silence broken only by reverential exclamations of “Oh. Bus.” Or “TRUCK!” My first vehicle was a truck, but I never have loved motorized shells the way he has. The web is awash in speculation about what draws kids to trucks, ranging from psychoanalysis to rhapsodies about the “mysterious mechanical marvel of the machine.” But I am more interested in the way that all the mechanized protagonists of these stories have reshaped my own perspective. For better or for worse, it is much easier for me to see a face in the grill of a car these days, and to be grateful for the faithful service of a garbage truck (rather than the actual sanitation workers themselves). And my newfound regard for machines as faithful creatures and companions has even translated itself to pool cleaning bots. I had always found them inherently creepy, but now I fondly watch “Jerome” trundle about the pool like some beloved aquatic pet. I’m not entirely sure this is healthy, since I’m not sure how to do the math on how much this might limit the amount of empathy I am actively cultivating towards my fellow man. But it does make me less angry about traffic james, less worried that the pool vacuum is going to murder me in my sleep and marginally less likely to embarrass myself at a construction site, so there must be some value there.
I love this pondering. Also, my son Tanner is 20 months and is absolutely OBSESSED with any wheeled vehicle. “Oh, Bus!” is like a chorus on our drive home from daycare. Little Blue Truck is still his favorite of all his books. “Wheels on the Bus” must be played daily.