Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Truck at 14th and Rhode Island: Space Is the Place

A lot of people think that D.C. is just grim, grey buildings full of conservative careerists with beige bland dreams. Those people are right.

Which is why I get so excited every morning when I pass this truck at 14th and Rhode Island:

Painted truck, 14th and U St., D.C.

Every time I see it I think "Sun Ra is alive and well and living in a truck in Northwest D.C."


A commenter left a link on this post last night that unzipped the mystery of this truck into something weird and wonderful.

As it turns out, C. Kret is equal parts Sun Ra and Daniel Pinkwater. He may be the living incarnation of a Pinkwater character, a colorful extra from The Snarkout Boys series. He's a children's book author, illustrator, a rambling limerick-spouting poet. Like most other Northwest residents, C. Kret has a law degree ... but prefers to beautify the world instead. Here's a self-conducted interview.

From his website:
Itzah C. Kret is also known as The Phantom Planter because he goes around planting flowers in public places. Since 1979 he guesses he's planted over 41,317 flowers in ten states and six foreign countries. In October, 2003, he planted 202 tulips, crocuses and windflowers right under the St. Louis Gateway Arch. On April 12, 2004, he struck in Buenos Aires, Argentina, planting dozens of Morning Glories in La Boca and in the park in front of the Casa Rosada. Last fall he checked out the Liberty Bell and decided to plant daffodils at the Brith Shalom nursing home in Philadelphia. In 2005 he planted over 20,000 morning glories in Bangalore, India. (He may have an obsessive compulsive floral disorder.)

C. Kret is an ambassador for International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, celebrated on the first Saturday of February. From the Ice Cream for Breakfast FAQ:
Some people have been known to play a competitive card game called "Nuts" on Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Often, the edge in such activities is had by the person who most adroitly combines a sugar high and caffeine buzz to their greatest advantage.

I've done a lot of wailing recently about wanting to escape D.C. It's really encouraging to see someone who escapes it inside his mind, and may never have let it get to him in the first place.

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At 8:53 PM, Blogger neil said...

ICK: Is that your lavender truck with a poem painted on it near 11th and F Streets in Downtown
Washington, D.C.?
ICK: You mean the one with the poem that says “I live in a world of fantasy. So keep your
reality away from me. I see what I want. I want what I see. And that is all okay by me.”
ICK: That one.
ICK: I can not confirm or deny the existence of such a truck or poem.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Justin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Hebdomeros said...

That truck used to haunt me when I worked downtown. I would go to lunch and see it on the way, and then see it in a different spot on the way back to work. It moved around all the time, but I never saw anyone get into it or drive it. Add to it that not one of my co-workers ever saw it, I was starting to think it was a ghost with a sense of humor.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Beakerz said...

Great picture. Even better saying.

At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Mary T in SBCA said...

I have just spent a few minutes perusing Itzah and Eye'ma C. Kret's website, and I have decided they are my new favorite people in the world. It is so definitely NOT a secret. Neither am I. Nor is she.


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