I have tiny weak arms like a T-Rex, and small useless hands, so that even the lightest, most easily gripped furniture slips easily from my clutches. Also, I stop to shift my grip a lot, but I don’t tell YOU that I’m stopping, so you either fall over backwards or slam into the furniture we’re trying to carry. Then I yell at you.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “package store”?
I was in the parking lot of the ABC Package Store down the road from my new place, with a large box I needed to mail in the passenger’s seat, about to get out of the car when Brian called.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“I couldn’t find the UPS Store I mapquested before I left,” I said, “so I’m at the package store. Hopefully I can mail my box from here.”
“Wait, the package store?”
“Yeah. The ABC Package Store. On Timber Road. To mail that big box?”
Suffice it to say, had Brian not called at that moment, I would have taken my box into the ABC Package Store only to discover that it was in fact a liquor store. Because in North Carolina, liquor stores are known as package stores. Well, duh!
“I guess that explains the sign out front that says ‘No Loitering.’ I was wondering who would want to loiter outside a package store. I mean, how exciting would that make this town?”
Brian and I are in disagreement as to whether it would have been more hilarious if he hadn’t called, and I had lugged my box inside and tried to mail it. I feel that I probably would have covered it well.
“I need to mail this pack…age…But while I’m here, I’ll take a fifth of Wild Turkey.”
In our new apartment in North Carolina, my desk is in the dining room. Its shelves hold our cookbooks and our drink mixing books, along with my laptop. This may have been a bad call. Now, whenever I grow restless while on the computer, I look them over and occasionally leaf through one, which leads me down roads I probably don’t need to be traveling, since they are likely to end with either a pile of warm chocolate chip cookies or a dry martini.
On second thought, this was a great idea! I’ll be right back…
Finding a job is kind of like finding a boyfriend. That is, it’s a lot more fun to talk about how you don’t have one, and how hard they are to find, than it is to send out resumes (or lurk in coffeehouses). And not having a job, like being single, definitely has its perks. Both can be enormously thrilling. The world seems full of possibility! Nothing is tying you down or regulating your habits. There is no need to call home if you’re going to be out late; no reason to set your alarm for 6:45am and crawl out of bed in the weekday morning darkness searching for a button-down shirt and office-casual pants.
But this exhilarating feeling of freedom comes at a price, particularly for the unemployed. After all, you don’t need a boyfriend. But, if you lack a trust fund, you probably need a job. And when you’re between jobs, at every moment lurks the fear that you will never find another one, or that you will never again find a job you enjoy. It is very easy, in these moments, to let panic set in. The giddy thrill of wondering if today is Wednesday or Sunday; the joys of shopping in a deserted supermarket on a weekday afternoon, can dissipate all too easily with one glance at a dipping savings account, or a moment’s consideration of anything related to health care.
Harder still, jobs are often treated all too casually by those who already have them. Your employed friends may sigh wistfully when you relate in great detail what happened to Marlena on Days. They may mention at least once per conversation how brave you were to leave your job in search of a new adventure, and how much they wish they were brave enough to do the same thing. However, deep down, you both know that they have a steady income, and you don’t. That awareness kind of puts a damper on things. Similarly, no one who is single ever really feels like hearing how lucky they are to be single from someone with a live-in boyfriend. Trust me, they know. Unless you are also single, keep those sentiments to yourself, except when they are followed by, “but I have to introduce you to my adorable friend Bob who is also lucky enough to be single.”
After my last move, into Brian’s house, ten minutes away, I swore I would never move again. Well, that was a lie. I am moving in approximately a week. This time not across town, but across coast! Along coast. Something.
Brian and I are moving to Garner, which is just outside of Raleigh, NC. I am excited about this change. Excited and terrified. I go back and forth between two extremes. Moving somewhere new, starting over and making new friends and finding your way in a new city and state, is fun and scary. Quitting your job without a new job lined up is inadvisable, but it’s what I’m doing. My last day at work is Friday, and my next day of work after that is up for debate. On the one hand, I enjoy having time off of work. On the other hand, I also enjoy eating. Which of these enjoyable things will be in my future the most? We shall see!
I moved out of my apartment of three years last month, and the experience made me never want to move again. Still, though I like my new place, I’m not sure I want to stay here for the rest of my life. My ideal solution is to have a number of furnished houses across the country that I can move to and from as my mood dictates, packing only my toothbrush. If anyone would like to donate to this worthy cause, I promise you can come visit me in one of my many houses someday.
I already own enough kitchen implements to fully outfit several kitchens. This is a problem, since I moved into an established household of three people who already have enough spatulas, coffeemakers and cake pans, and have no interest in mine, even if I think they are nice. I tried to integrate a few of my things into my new kitchen in the beginning—can you ever have too many spatulas? It turns out you can. I recently calculated that all four people in this house could hold a spatula in each hand at the same time. I can’t imagine a situation in which we will need to be able to do this, unless we are under attack by a mob of angry pancakes.
In the days leading up to my move, I began to grow alarmed at the number of possessions I actually owned. Where did all these things come from? I wondered, digging piles of long forgotten junk out from under my bed. I lead a simple life! How did I end up with nine different kinds of lip balm (all indispensable)? Do I really own four down vests?
In desperation I tried that useless exercise where one sorts into two piles all of the things one didn’t even remember owning until Moving Day rolled around: You are supposed to make a Save pile, and a Toss pile. At the end of this exercise I had a Save pile, a Maybe pile (which is really a sneaky Save pile for things you don’t want to admit you’re going to keep) and a Toss pile made up of newspaper clippings from articles I wrote in high school. I ended up keeping those, for their sentimental value. Ah, sentimental value. The lifeblood of Moving and Storage companies.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (see above paragraphs), in my head, I pictured the move taking around forty minutes. In my head I think I may also have pictured the move involving a young Angela Lansbury and I climbing on my bed, turning the bed knob, and disappearing in a flash of primitive special effects, only to reappear in my new bedroom, under the sea. Then we would use cunning and magic to steal my security deposit back from my landlord. None of this went according to plan. As a matter of fact, I’m still waiting for that deposit. Thanks for nothing, Angela.
Moving Day came. It became Moving Weekend. And finally, Never-Ending Moving Weekend From Hell. My bedroom was like a clown car. Garbage bags filled with winter coats, piles of blankets, and boxes of books seemed to regenerate and multiply behind my sweaty, aching back. I would lug one downstairs and load it into the van, only to find another two in its place when I returned.
Of course, as tends to happen, the moment I finished putting everything in its place in my new and fabulous bedroom, my nightmarish memories of Moving Weekend began receding into darkness. This convenient, human ability to fade out troublesome recollections is probably the reason why we gradually begin to wonder if we shouldn’t think about finding a place closer to work; maybe one with a little more closet space. Traumatic memories of hefting a queen size mattress alone up three flights of rickety stairs and packing and unpacking hundreds of books gradually diminish, and we begin to consider what our next move will be. I am not sure whether this trick of memory is a blessing or a curse. All I know is, next time I’m shooting for my own bathroom.