February 1, 2011

Truck Culture

How many times have we come across those branded truck backs with painted symbols and text, but hardly ever wondered where this practice came from… an expressive tradition rooted in superstitions and speaking to our deepest apprehensions. Stuck in traffic behind our truck driver, I thought of him travelling distances to earn a living, carrying painted eyes and seemingly entertaining sayings on his vehicle, to shield it from wicked minds and envious eyes - although collecting more insults than envy on the road, nowadays. Whether in the colorful signs, or the messages, or even in the names given - dallou3ah being my favorite - he is transmitting folklore on his truck back without knowing it: a Truck Culture addressing our deep psychological fears of loosing against the odds; which makes us human - all too human - hence the basic need to protect what we own, and to protect our own by warding off ill will. And so, we reach out to knock on wood, cross our fingers, wish one another to 'break a leg', or paint an open blue eye or a khamsa on a truck back. Just like our truck driver on the ciTy streets, we all carry Truck Culture.

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