Little brown boxes


movingboxes.jpgMoving day is almost here.

Not my moving day. Thank Jebus, no. Ginny has returned to town, tiny car stuffed with odds and ends from this place and that.

I moved three years ago. And once again 10 years before that.

I hate to move. The dust makes me sneeze. And the endless trips to the car are tiresome.

My friends apparently love to move, having visited 97 percent of the crappy apartments on the Southside. And I have been witness to many of those decampments.

On a good move, I am tireless and strong. I may not be able to single-handedly lift the couch, but I will carry everything I can and then some with care and precision.

On a bad move, I will throw your shit out the window just to see if I can hit the truck from here. I will pocket whatever is worth swiping or the one thing you can’t live without: “Your insulin? Haven’t seen it.”

I move my own things like the Marines: Leave no man behind.

We move in an orderly fashion, usually before dawn. Every soldier carries out his part to make the mission a success. We all go, or no one goes.

Mike and Biff are excellent movers, probably because they’ve had too much practice carting their junk from Point A to Point B, and three years later, back to Point A. Mike’s final move to a house in the country was handled with military precision, and we’re talking about tons of stuff in the previous house plus a rental storage shed. When Biff moves, he has all of his stuff unpacked and placed within 12 hours of the move’s conclusion.

This is moving at a post-graduate level.

Ginny handles moving like a girl. And having chased a few women out of town, I can say that it’s messy and ugly. Apparently the sudden loss of an address warrants the five stages of grief.

  • Denial: I’m not really moving in three weeks, so I don’t have to pack or set up utilities or rent a truck.
  • Anger: Usually directed at the movers (who are being paid in pizza) and me, the hapless boyfriend.
  • Bargaining: I wonder what’s the least amount of stuff I can take with me to the new place.
  • Depression: This move is killing me, it’s going to be the worst move ever, why does it have to be so hard? Boo hoo hoo.
  • Acceptance: Oh fuck, let’s just get this over with.

So Ginny moves until she becomes bored. Considering she doesn’t always fill her car’s tank to the top because she becomes bored, you can see how this would end a move prematurely. But in her world, there are “acceptable losses”: Whatever is left behind in the old apartment are the casualties of war.

They don’t even receive a proper burial.

Boxes are labeled with unhelpfully precise categories: “Bathroom/kitchen/garage” or “spare quilts/cat food” or “(illegible) don’t break!!” One box is missing a bottom panel. Another appears to be leaking something orange.

What should be moved first? Well, don’t touch that pile there, because it may not be going. And those things are going to Goodwill. And those belong to my roommate who’s currently in detox. Here, take this shoebox and this still-made day bed to the truck.

Utter. Chaos.

One helper smashes her foot with a desk to be helpful (did we mention sandals are a bad idea on moving day?). Another is holding the elevator for us, in vain.

My spirits sink the moment I walk into the soon-to-be-abandoned apartment, only to find exactly three boxes have been packed. Why on Earth have I recruited people to be here exactly at 9, only to find that we’ll be standing around in the way for packing that should’ve been done days ago? The dread seizes my innards and crushes my soul.

At that point, I don’t care what gets broken, lost or scratched. Or who.

Come moving day, all I want by the end is a place to sit, a cold drink and the satisfaction of a job well done. Or poorly done.

Or maybe a quiet corner to contemplate and shoot up primo insulin.


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