The arrival of warmer weather has brought the return of one of my favorite Southeast Michigan customs: the parking of wheelbarrows on roofs. Half the houses on each block have at least one standing atop their homes. The more committed have two.
The wheelbarrows have traditionally been left empty, although in recent years adventurous citizens have begun filling them with old sleeping bags and sawdust. One neighbor (a former councilman) fills his with live kittens.
There’s no consensus as to what resting a wheelbarrow on your house achieves or represents. Some speculate the practice serves to break up the unbearable tedium of life in late-stage capitalist America, providing something to focus one’s whirling, crippled mind on for at least a few moments of relief from this country’s stifling cloud of conformity and submission. Still others have suggested they were originally parked there because the homeowner had run out of honest places inside the home for hiding dirt.
At any rate, each wheelbarrow is kept at a steep angle with the aim of crushing at least one mail carrier before the season ends.