Those Four Little Words, Part One

“I want to move.”

 

Those four words inspire more despair, more revulsion, more bottomless, sickening misery in my body and soul than any others, except for maybe “we have to talk,” and even those four words don’t involve premonitions of couches stuck in stairwells, twenty tons of books, and more clothes than either of us could wear in a lifetime.  Not to mention a seemingly endless parade of miscellaneous shit like Thighmasters, cat carriers, end tables, and Wal-Mart dressers that wobble, lean, and defy all laws of construction and gravity.  The interior of every closet in our house looks as though we sent in a brass-knuckled Roomba with a taste for blood to rough up the joint. 

 

After living in five different places before I graduated high school, three different places during college, and with Catherine and I now in our fourth place since getting engaged, you’d think I’d be so keenly attuned to the process that it would be nearly foolproof, that I could tackle a move with steely, Jack Bauer-like precision.  You’d be wrong.  Whether it’s my own special cross to bear or the way of things for everyone, I don’t know, but I always – always ­– underestimate the time and effort it’s going to take.  We’ll be done by three, I’ll say, surveying the stacks of boxes that look like a miniature brown skyline that cuts the living room in half.  At eleven o’clock, with one last load to go, I look at the mess, the carnage, the chaos, and think: why the fuck can’t I tell time? 

 

But I know why.  It’s because if I don’t attach a deadline to the process, my wife would find me at the back of the U-Haul sucking my thumb and crying for scotch-infused pablum.  Something about the act doesn’t feel like progress to me, even as the amount of stuff in the truck diminishes and the amount of stuff in our new home increases, unless I have a concrete plan in my head of how long everything is going to take.  The problem is that said “plan” stems entirely from my own flawed estimation of how long something should take versus how long it really takes.  (This is starting to sound very much like the “if one train is going 75 miles an hour and the other…” math problems, which cause me to break out in hives and black out for an indeterminate amount of time.  Coping mechanisms for math came early in my life, and now they’re involuntary.)

 

But in spite of my inability to plan, here I am, mentally revisiting the scenes of these past crimes against my spirit because Catherine recently spoke those four evil words to me.

 

“Honey, I want to move,” she said, sitting on the couch as the clock wound down to bedtime.  I just closed my eyes, seeing our past moves flashing before me as if they weren’t really gone, as if they’d just been waiting to come back, as inescapable as the curse of The Ring.  I imagine myself sweating, lugging boxes, smeary-faced.  Seven days, a voice in my head whispers ominously, is how long it will take you to get all of this shit from point A to point B, not the thirty hours you’re counting on, you silly bastard. “Because of the commute, we’re losing over three hours a day that we could be spending at home together being married.”

 

Because of the many connotations that “being married” calls to mind, I agree.  And I know that she’s right.  And honestly, I feel the same way, so it was bound to happen.  I love our apartment more than I can say, but Naperville is no longer a sensible option for us, what with both of us working in the city, and for as unreliable as Metra has become.  (More on this later – but I think that a ceremonial destruction of all Metra trains would be welcome and cathardic, and judging from the fury on most people’s faces during our daily delay, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.  They could sell tickets.  Corn dogs.  Fried Coke.  And we’d all get a turn pulverizing a train car with a sledgehammer while reliving childhood state-fair memories.  Daley?  You listening?)  With a two-hour commute both directions, we don’t get to enjoy our big beautiful place as much as we’d like, don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, and we’ve both determined that Chicago living is the best option, which suits us fine having lived there before and having found it infinitely more pleasant than it’s often made out to be.  I’ve never felt safer than when I was living in Boystown with friendly neighbors (mostly gay) and lots of traffic (mostly parked cars choking all but four feet of actual street clearance).

 

We’ve made the decision to try and move in the late spring/early summer.  Even though we’re still months away, over the past week or so I’ve found myself mining my memory for details on past moves.  This time I will make charts, spreadsheets, PowerPoints for myself so that I don’t revisit the stupid mistakes and miscalculations of the past.  Why were they so difficult?  What made them so hard to overcome?  Why the fuck didn’t I just hire movers instead of pretending I was able to drive that twenty-six foot sunbitchin’ U-Haul down a one-way, narrow alley at midnight?

 

There is an answer, and I will find it.  I will make this move not just easily, but pleasantly.  Goddamn it.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

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~ by thismarriedguy on January 22, 2009.

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