|[a] Civic structure RF|
|[b] Heaping RF|
|[c] Choice RF|
|[d] I only ride inside RF|
I decide to put a big box of books on the back seat behind the passenger seat. There is still room for a small box of note paper, markers, and other office supplies directly behind the passenger seat on the floor. I have my limits, though. I choose not to stuff the small available space underneath the two bucket seats up front. A lot of gadgets could fit under there, but my cultural background tells me that the space is, well, less than optimal—a world I associate with chewed gum, shoe-bottom detritus, and fossilized Cheetos. Nope. Not there.
Space remains. Since I will be traveling solo, I have the entire passenger seat and the back seat on the driver's side. That's where my suitcase and computer bag are going. The CDs to which I will listen (Montaigne's Complete Essays on this trip), my MapQuest or GoogleMaps directions, and assorted sustenance (a container of almonds): all of these go on the passenger seat. I have decided not to overuse that front-space structure, having experienced far too many apartment moves that had me driving with a box corner stuck into my shoulder. Never again. Too dangerous.
O.k. The car is packed now. There is a bike in the trunk, a box of books and a suitcase on the back seat, supplies and my computer bag on the floor behind the bucket seats, nothing under the seats, and assorted media (most importantly maps) on the passenger seat. I have just a few more things to mention. First, have you ever noticed the way that a car or van can be "packed," but more things just keep on accumulating right up until you leave?
|[e] One approach RF|
There is one more bit of structured space left in this equation. An enormous amount of room remains in the back seat and rear window. You know what I mean. Admit it. You may well have (once or twice) packed a car so fully that you couldn't see out the windows. Never again for me, I say, and hope that I don't have to test my resolve. Not being able to see is, um, not optimal. Loose matter near the rear window can also turn into missiles (the physics is simple but scary).
|[f] Neat (no bike) RF|
...except for the fact that these same choices were structured from start-to-finish. I negotiated the structures of the Honda Civic in every single decision I made, including wedging the big box of books through the tight rear door. It fit. What would I have done if it didn't? I won't go into all of the possibilities, but they, too, would have been negotiations of structure. On the other hand, imagine negotiating the structures of a full-size pickup truck. Everything would be different—but still structural.
In this case, the Honda Civic provided the various structures. My choices constitute the event that we might call "Rob's Car Packing March 13, 2012." Now that it is done, that event (the particular negotiation of structure that is today's packing) is history. It is an event in the past. Finally, we have culture. You will have noticed a thread throughout this post that emphasizes packing it in, but with relatively little danger—or at least substantially reduced danger. The casual observer may say "That's Rob; he has a fully-developed frontal cortex, and he thinks twice (or thrice) about these matters—he's a careful guy." Is that it, though? Is it "Rob" and my "personality" or is it a much larger cultural strain that I tap into in my own thinking about this particular negotiation of structure?
|[g] Vintage structure RF|
Packing a car is cultural, and so is driving it. I will soon be negotiating the structures of the open road. Negotiating the car's structures (relatively unforgiving, as in the case of a small trunk) is the easy part. Next (check back later this week) I will tell about negotiating the structures of Ohio's speed limit (sixty-five miles per hour). Seventy should be no problem, right?
Don't be so sure. See you later this week.