Project 1 – Object Essay – Old Rusty Light

Section 1 – Physical Nature of the Object

This light is decrepit, dim, and rusty. The cylindrical golden shell that would house the light is inside of a rusted cage – an apparatus comprised of two perpendicular bars crossing each other over the shell, connecting to a ring at the base. That ring has a plastic base, although that has been chipped as it has multiple jagged edges and holes. The inside of the shell is empty. It is supposed to be the home of the light when attached to the Public Safety vehicle from which this object was taken, but this one is merely a husk. The light also makes squeaky noises, and the parts have the ability to move in a limited fashion. The modicum of movement accompanied by the squeaking accentuates the broken nature of the object.

Section 2 – What it Meant to me Then

When I first saw it, the light was off in actuality but on in my head. It was a cold night, one that I was spending with friends exploring Hofstra’s campus. We had been playing in the snow and messing around when I suggested climbing a snow mountain. When at the top of the hill, I saw the light on a nearby peak. This was a new opportunity, a glimmer in the night. After trekking to the treasure, I picked it up and help onto it the rest of the night. It was a fun challenge, to keep the item trough the night and not to lose it to my two friends who both had an interest in it. Eventually, I did get some pictures with it, showing its value as an instrument of amusement. In fact, one photo I had taken of me wearing the light as a crown, with my smartphone light in the shell to illuminate the object, illustrated the extent to which the object elevated me. It was special, and it made me special. The dim light was able to illuminate my night although it could not light up the night. Since its discovery, it was a defective light, but a beacon of entertainment and lighthearted fun in a cold, restrictive night. 

Section 3 – What it Means to me Now

Upon returning to my dorm with it, I stared thinking about the light. The light was out, after its brief ray of entertainment. Figuratively and literally. It was a broken shell of a an object that was once bright. Even though it no longer shined, it was still a reminder of something great. COVID-19 has ruined many things, including the college experience. What I had that night was a moment of brightness, or escape. While masks were worn, we had a great time. This experience was punched up by the light, as it brought some fun, but the light’s main contribution was its service as a trophy and reminder of the experience. It still sits in my dorm, reminding me of that time I went out with my friends and explored. The figurative light took over when the physical light went out. Once separated from the vehicle, it blasted figurative light as described in the above section, but now that that has been extinguished, it shines no more. The thing is though, it does not have to. A light does not have to shine to have purpose, as this one demonstrates by being a symbol of something great, a souvenir.

Section 4 – Closing Remarks and the Life of the Light 

This light exuded brightness and served a literal propose. That was taken from it when it was ripped from its car and landed in the snow. Then, in literal darkness it gained new purpose with figurative light that one cold night. Having served that purpose, not needing a shiny exterior or an intact base, it reached its new destination as a souvenir. When my experience seemed like an unending darkness, I happened upon this object. It could have been anything – any object in the snow that we could have fooled around with. It seems poetic that it was a light, as its journey with me reflected in my journey with it. My college years should have been unhindered freedom, but they are a prison. The pandemic has locked away my experience, like the weather, an uncontrollable force, changed the course of the light’s existence. However, the light found new meaning and I found new enjoyment in our broken, decrepit state. Our purpose and what we do may be affected by circumstance, and not what we originally intend, but great nonetheless.

Works Cited

De Jong, Elisabeth M., et al. “From Shattered Goals to Meaning in Life: Life Crafting in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Frontiers in Psychology, Front. Psychol., 15 October 2020 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577708/full

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