The K.I.D.S.

Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

The Tire Swing Story

In Actions, Past on February 11, 2009 at 13:14

Brooklyn street tire swing

In September, 2007, two boys and a dog set out on an adventure that would change the face of the world. One stood bent and weak, a broken collarbone on one shoulder forcing one arm into a sling, a dog leash in the other hand. The other was dressed in jeans and a collared workshirt, he carried a giant suitcase, salvaged from the streets. Within this suitcase lay coiled the rope, pulled from the navy yard in broad daylight, eaten by time but strongly made, and thick as Popeye’s arms. Between the boys rolled a single tire, found in a vacant lot, discarded for its utilitarian purpose, reclaimed for its joyitarian purpose.
The crippled boy heeled in Hattie the dog. She was anxious, running about in circles. She knew something great was taking place that night. The cripple spoke about the Bowline, a knot used mostly by sailors, but fitting for the boys purpose.
They walked exactly one block, to where the highway thundered overhead. Here they unclasped their suitcase, tied Hattie to a dumpster, and set to work. A brick was tied to one end of the rope, this end was thrown through a gap in the supports of the highway above. The brick was lowered, untied, and a bowline was tied in its place. The other end of the rope was slipped through the bowline, pulled taut.
A trash can was gathered from the nearby corner, placed beneath the hanging rope. The crippled boy helped to steady the tire atop the trash can, as the other boy tied the rope around one end of the tire. Hattie barked like mad and pranced about, the tension in the air driving her wolverine blood to a frenzy, as a new tire swing was born. The crippled boy went to comfort her, as the other boy moved the trash can back to its rightful place. The boys gathered their tools, a serrated kitchen knife, a roll of electrical tape and the great suitcase. They took pictures, now long lost to the sands of time. They swung.
Many people in this world may never have the chance to swing in a tire swing. Many more will never do so on a busy city sidewalk, traffic roaring by and overhead. Only a very few will ever experience the satisfaction of giving birth to a new tire swing. As the boys stood back to watch, a young hipster couple approached, stopped and touched the hanging tire with wonder in their eyes. They grasped hold, the girl gathered her skirts about her, leaped aboard, and the boy began to push her. The boys and their dog, well satisfied with themselves, retired for the evening, happy to have provided a little bit of joy to the world, and happy to have lived a few moments of airborne bliss, no less magical, for all the years since last they flew aback a round rubber bird.

There is more than one way to hang a tire. One can use several ropes, setting the tire up so that it hangs on the horizontal plane. I don’t know how to do that.
The method employed by these boys, namely to tie one rope to one spot on the tire, allows for several exciting airborne options. One is to stick ones legs straight through the center of the tired, sitting inside of it with your arms firmly grasping the knot. This can be incredibly uncomfortable for the tookis, unless adequate padding is provided. Another popular method is to go straight on head first through the tire. Again without padding this can be very uncomfortable, and always produces nausea of some variety.
Standing one may find oneself with ones feet on the bottom lip of the tire, or right on the very top, near the knot. These are both very fun, allowing for the run and swing method, useful if swinging alone.

(I feel it is important to mention here, that operating a tire swing alone is not recommended. Solo swinging can be fun, but is not nearly as romantic, and you can’t swing as high)

One may also sit atop the tire, legs wrapped round the rope, but the knot may prove troubling, for men especially. All of these positions can be modified, additions such as crouching, multiple people swinging at once, swinging with favourite pets, etc. are highly recommended. It is also highly recommended to disregard everything you’ve ever learned, be it tire swinging technique or pickle juice trivia, when in the actual act of swinging. When swinging, it is best just to swing.

The boys made several more tire swings. They were happy with each one made, and every friend who came to join them for this activity left with a smile and a skip. But it was a sad thing to see, the morning after their night time romps. A rope hanging, roughly cut halfway ‘tween tire and anchor, swinging in the breeze with no tire to steady it. No swing would last more than a night or two, except the one put on a tree in their parents back yard. This stayed for quite some time, may be there still. If you listen aright, on a cold stormy night, you can still hear it a swingin’ and a creakin’, out there in them woods. It’s waiting to carry ye, ’tis, to the land o’ the sky, where ye won’t need nothing but a friend to push ye, now an’agin.

But separation came. One boy moved away, to the great open lands under the western sun. The other boy stayed in the great big city, watching the ice roll in from the frozen north, a hammer in one hand and a saw in the other, he makes things and tells stories, and if you ever want to ask him where he’s been, he’ll shut up is lips so tight, and wait till you tell him where you’ve been, and then he’ll say “See, you already know where I’ve been, just the same as you, same as you.”

Well last night, under the great western moon, the boy who’d left his home was thinking of some good old days. He remembered how great it could be, when friends can come together and make together a tire swing, and he took a double shot of whiskey, and he shared it with his friends, and he staggered from his bar stool and he said with one crooked finger shaking madly in the air “It’s time, it’s time! tonite is the night! We’re gonna hang a swing tonite, from a fire escape, from a telephone pole, from a tree! I don’t care, maybe all three!”
Some friends were excited by his mad scheme, others simply shook their heads. The boy hopped up on his motorcycle and rode off into the night. First to the hardware store, he bought him some rope, tested for 2000 pounds, “This should do” he told the cashier. The cashier just shook his head.
To the south he rode, where the warehouses reside, under the train tracks, where the roads never get worked on. There were piles of garbage, puddles of murky water and garbage trucks, utility vans, a fedex store, bag ladies trundled by now and again, pushing massive shopping carts. There the boy found some tires, great big tires, above his waist when upright. He picked one up, and tipped it over, splashing the water out over the ground. Again, and again he did this, rusty chains and other garbage flying from the depths of the tire with each little crash.
Then the boy grabbed the tire by its edge, tried to heave it up onto his bike. The tire seemed glued to the ground, but the boy huffed and puffed, found the strength to lean it up onto the sissy bar aback his steed. He took some rope, linked it through the tire and around the bike through again and around again, and through again and around again. He tied it tight, wiped his blackened hands upon his pants, and mounted the bike. At first he thought he would fall either to one side or the other, or just straight over backwards. The tire on back was trying to lift his front wheel clear off the ground. But he learned to lean forward, his chest pushing down on the gas tank, he sputtered off into the night.
At his friends house, he was met and received, applauded for the fine catch he had made. He called up to Sarah, to her perch at the window, “may I have some soap in a bucket please!?”
“What for?” she called back.
“For to wash my tire!”
He washed the tire. He found a worn patch, where the metal wires were pushing through, so he snipped them close with his wire snippers.
One boy named Dan, and one girl name Gabby were determined to roll in the tire, so the boy stepped back to watch. They zipped up their collars and tightened their helmets, they squeezed themselves up into little balls and tried to slide into the tire. But either they were too big, or the tire was too small, for neither of them could fit.
So they began to walk, the tire rolled beside them, to the playground. At the playground the tire was rolled up a slide, but it decided to roll itself down. It found its way to the three way seesaw, but could not get on board as all seats were occupied.
A spot was spied for the hanging of the swing, upon the swing sets, by the jungle gym. The boy who had traveled all the way to the land under the western moon seemed dissatisfied, he longed for a higher height, to dangle from. He left the others at a little house, jumped a fence, ran to the baseball field. He had an idea, but the words wouldn’t come. it was starting to rain, little drops teased him as he stared up into the sky. “OF Course!” he exclaimed, “By Jove I’ve got it!”
“Come, my friends, bring the tire Dan, I’ve got it! I’ve got it!”
They all gathered round, stared up into the misty night. Above them hung the batters cage, worn out and slung with tree branches. “There!” shouted the boy, “There!” he pointed to a spot directly above home plate, a metal bar, stripped of its caging after years of pop fouls stood out silver in the dappled light from cars and houses.
They set to work. A package of tennis balls was found at the courts next door, the rope was fastened around it, each dampened set of hands grabbed some rope and the toss was made- too short.
Again a toss, this time too long, the the package of tennis balls was hung up on a bit of the link. They pulled, and the tennis balls came down like a bullet.
Another toss, this one splashed in a puddle at their feet. The rain was picking up.
One more toss, and a cheer broke out. The rope was lowered, the tennis balls untied, and the boy tried to remember his bowline… A Success! The knot was tied true, and the rope tightened to its anchor.
Dan used his superhuman strength to lift the tire, and the boy tied his square knots about the tire. Three square knots, and there she hung. Another tire swing, brought to life, swayed in the rainy darkness.
“This isn’t at all what I was expecting” said Gabby,
“That rope doesn’t look thick enough.”
The boy gave a cry of joy. A beast leaped out of him then, up onto the swing, a beast he had not known he was harboring. A laughing beast, his laugh rang loud and long into the falling rain and the rush of air in his face, the earth forgotten, the boy was lost in the clouds and the memories of imaginings, of flying, of touching the stars with lips brushed by a milky way mustache. The boy really flew then, back and forth and in circles, slicing through the air beneath the batters cage, he’d reached home.
He was pushed by his laughing friends, then he pushed them into the flying night, and the puddle beneath them widened, and mud covered them, and the rain kept on falling.

And the night went by, with much laughter and muddy foot prints.
and the next day Sarah sent out a text message to everyones phone, “The fascists cut our tire art down!”
and so ends the story of the tire swing, for now.Tire swing in California rain