Is there anything more reductionist than the act of putting all of your belongings into boxes, and then relocating those boxes to some other place? Maybe reductionist isn’t the word I am looking for; I want the one that succinctly describes how physically, mentally, and emotionally crushing moving can be. Moving sucks.
We are in the middle of moving from a place to no place. The rent here has become untenable, so it is time to move, even if it means going homeless for a few months. When we moved here two years ago, it had not rained in California for ten years, but it rained the whole day we had to unload our stuff. It is also raining today, the day we picked two months ago to get the Hell out of here. Coincidence? Yes, but I take personal credit for ending the decade long drought, and I list it as an achievement on my resume.
Generally speaking, I try very hard to focus on the present and to maintain a view to the future. Moving requires sorting through all of the relics from your past, and dealing with the emotional land mines that lie silently in wait. You never have room for everything, so sooner or later you will have to make choices about what you want to keep and what gets tossed or donated.
I don’t like to feel feelings. The feeling I most often have is sadness, so I try to keep feelings pushed down as far as I can get them. It requires a lot of concentration to take in all of the value of the present moment. To realize where you are right now and how you came to be here, and how wonderful it all is. It only takes a slight distraction of annoyance from an ugly kid, or a personal artifact dripping with emotional residue, to keep you from appreciating the beauty of each moment.
When packing to move, memories and sentimentality are your enemies. Emotions are made manifest in the weight of gifts and encumbrances from family and friends. Discarding an awkward or heavy and useless item from a loved one risks the backlash of feelings of guilt, regret, and remorse. That thing they gave you is heavy, has no intrinsic value, and won’t fit in a box of any dimensions. Why should you put it on a truck and pay movers to drive it across country? You love those friends/family, but you now resent the thing, so… conflicted you feel, and despise them you must. Throw it in the trash, sell it on eBay, hate them if you have to. What were they thinking, anyway? Assholes, one and all.
Physical activity and I have a long and hateful history. Moving involves a level of physical exertion that I am uncomfortable with, and that also makes me sad. First, there are endorphins to make things better (endorphins are nature’s cocaine), but soon you run out of them, and then the hurt and emotional recoil kick in, leaving you sad and unable to walk normally for several weeks.
Books are heavy, so avoid learning to read. Every box sealed with tape, labeled “books” becomes one closer to “stupid books that I should have thrown out a long time ago.” And you should have, but books feel nice to read, but they’re so heavy. Get rid of the books. And the cases that hold them. Reading is for idiots.
Most good pornography is available on the Internet. The really old porn, when the muffs were big and hairy, is fun to look at and remember what it was like when you were in high school, but a stack of it is not really worth keeping. Also, big muffs are heavy, so get rid of them, too.
After finally returning the keys to the rental office, I went to the City Pub in Redwood City, and ordered mozzarella sticks and a stout ale. I felt a deep sort of melancholy, without a home, contemplating what would be next in my doubtful future. The endorphins had long since worn off, and I was tired, wet from the rain, slightly cold from the evaporation of the part of the rain that made me wet, and all of my limbs were hurting. There was a stupid ugly kid running around the place. Stupid kids, I hate them so much. My food and beer eventually arrived.
As I ate the fried mozzarella sticks with their strong taste of stale deep fryer oil and their faint parsley panko taste that the California stout beer washed away, leaving only the blandness of the mild cheese and its rubbery texture, and as I slathered cold marinara on each one and washed it down with the malty taste of the beer, I lost the sad feeling and began to be grumpy and to make plans to trip that ugly kid running around my table. That made me feel a little happy. Then, it went away.