Unpacking the Truck


I’ve noticed the changing meaning of the word ‘unpacking’ in the last few years. It used mean simply removing items from the container in which they had been stored. Like unpacking your bags after a trip.

Increasingly, reporters endeavor to ‘unpack’ the contents of a complex story, hoping to separate and clarify the interlocking layers that give the story context and meaning.

Keeping in mind both the traditional and rising senses of the word, I’ve been thinking about my work truck.


I’ve spent years working out of the back of a truck, but it looks like my days as an itinerant tradesman are evolving into something more stationary. Therefore, I’m in the process of retiring my current work vehicle.

The type of work I did varied from job to job. I maintained a comprehensive set of basic tools in the truck, but I also kept specialty tools and materials in dedicated tool boxes racked by the overhead door ready to grab and go . Fiberglass job last week, welding gear this week, carpentry, electrical, mechanical stuff standing at the ready. I also had an shop filled with duplicate tools for shop work and larger stationary tools.

This transition, this ‘unpacking’, includes the reorganization of all this hardware, but also what it means to work in one place, to retire from the field.

In the course of this contemplation, I’ve made a photo record of what I’ve ‘unpacked’.   (I probably should have done this years ago to serve as proof to my insurance company in case of loss.)

If time and  interest allows, I hope to explore the transition.

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