Thursday, September 30, 2010

as good as

Three moves are as good as a fire.

One day, over thirteen years ago, my parents helped me pack up a car-sized quantity of my worldly possessions, and, upon setting off for college, I unknowingly entered into a new period of my life that I now call the era of continual moving-around.

Yesterday the Era showed that it's going on as strong as ever as I undertook a one-day, solo effort to move everything I own from one apartment to another about ten miles away. No, that's not entirely true. It was a bit more than a one-day effort; with Laura's help I moved my bicycles the night before. And I used her car to move everything else, which is why the move took one day and not five. I actually did think about doing the move sans car, but “think” never progressed to “consider” as, alas, my current work schedule these days pretty much bars me from enjoying such luxuries as taking off five days to haul around a lot of junk on my bike.

Excluding college, in the remaining nine years of the Era, I've moved exactly once for every year. Calculated proverbially, that means I've suffered three fires. Make that: benefited from three fires. There are two positive statements I can say about myself that not many other 31-year-olds can:

  • I weigh about the same as I did when I was 18.
  • I own about the same amount of stuff as I did when I was 18.

But I still own a lot of stuff, and only moving exposes this unpleasant little fact for what it is. All this stuff that I'm packing and lifting and moving—somehow at the time of each thing's acquisition it seemed important. Now it's a burden, and I find myself wondering what exactly I need to maintain happiness.

Each time I move, it seems I find that I've amassed one thing in particular. In the past it's been hydrogen peroxide, mason jars, and other mundane things. This time it was toothbrushes. I had no idea that I was hoarding toothbrushes. How does this happen?

One thing I was not hoarding was empty boxes. When you move frequently, you get good at it, and one of my tricks was to keep about ten to twelve empty boxes around, so that I could pack everything into in a couple of hours. This time I discovered I had only two empty boxes, so I resorted to using Trader Joe's paper grocery bags for my move. It turns out that those grocery bags are a convenient way to move stuff, but they're not so great for packing a lot into a car for one trip.

This move ended up being only a minor fire. I have a modest-sized giveaway pile that will sit around in my new place for a week or two until Goodwill or another thrift place becomes the beneficiary of my junk. Maybe while I'm there dropping off my donations I can see if they have any good deals…

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