Container Monster

You never know, in a place like Greenwich, what may appear around the corner.

Drawn outside by an increase in raucous noise, I met this metallic being.  He was uttering a stream of genial, amplified, and unintelligible chatter, in time to the stomping of his typewriter-sized feet and to what seemed a percussion orchestra emanating from inside himself, and eventually he stomped away though the portal of the glassy structure you see behind him, which surrounds the Cutty Sark.  Part of the watching crowd consisted of men in black tuxedos and white shirts.  I asked one of them what all this signified, and he said:

“Fifty Years of Containerization.”

“Oh, you’re going in to a celebration?”

“No, we’re just waiters.”

He may have offered more words of explanation, but they were lost in the din.  I guessed that a banquet in honor of fifty years of containerization was to be held in the tea room under the Cutty Sark.

We knew that the Greenwich and Dockland Festival was going on for several days – streets were cordoned off, marquees set up – but we hadn’t been paying much attention.

Later in the evening the noise reached another climax, and we went out and saw monster etheric horses, illuminated from inside themselves, in a dreamy dance.

And next morning, below our window, I saw two workmen opening something out: it needed the two of them, because it was a deck chair of impractically monstrous size, later to be joined by a family of ordinary-sized and child-sized deck chairs.

An hour or so later, the child-sized deck chairs were occupied by children, and the adult-sized deck chairs by adults, and the monster-sized deck chairs by – children.

Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters


3 thoughts on “Container Monster”

  1. Shipping containers are deadly monsters to sailors on small vessels. Containers fall off cargo ships all the time, especially in heavy weather. Depending on the weight and volume of a container and whether or not it is still watertight, it may float just below the surface. A number of sailboats have run into shipping containers, sinking the boats and killing the crews.

  2. The sleep of reason has indeed produced monsters. But bless you for leaving me with the children as the final image.

  3. It isn’t easy to track down the 50 year mark for containerization: different developments particularly after WWII. But initial efforts historically appear to be in England in the 17th century, “Containerization has its origins in early coal mining regions in England beginning in the late 18th century. In 1766 James Brindley designed the box boat ‘Starvationer’ with 10 wooden containers, to transport coal from Worsley Delph (quarry) to Manchester by Bridgewater Canal.”

    So, containerization should be celebrating the 251 anniversary, not the 50th.

    However, containerization is an impressive technology, “As of 2009, approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is moved by containers stacked on transport ships;[36] 26% of all container transshipment is carried out in China.”

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