Friday morning I take the train to Long Island to pick up my parents SUV (they hate “the environment”) along with some “boxes,” because in the “planning stages” of my move I considered boxes to be exotic items, specific only to certain regions of Long Island and not to be found in Manhattan. This all falls under the main tenet of my moving philosophy, which was “As soon as I have a car I have everything I need. The entire process after this will be a breeze.”
Over the course of the weekend, I will revise my philosophy to include the same epiphany about “Once all the clothes are packed . . .,” “Once the kitchen is cleaned out . . .,” “Once the washing machine is moved . . .,” and “Once the big furniture is donated . . .,” and so on and so on, all of which illuminates one prevalent theme: my capability for self-deception rivals that of a manic-depressive.
I drive back to Manhattan enjoying the ride, specifically the fact that the solo car ride (a rarity for me) is the last bastion of a man who cannot sing but loves to think he can, because even if someone should happen to overhear your awful rendition of “Rebellion (Lies)” you’re driving at 70mph and the chance he will attempt to mock you is slim, even slimmer when you hold a pistol up against the window. Little did I know, though, that this would be the last enjoyable thing in my life for 48 hours.
Once I get to my apartment, my mood shifts from casual optimism to sheer panic as I pack up the six or so “boxes” I procured on Long Island in a matter of minutes. (FACT: Books seem smaller and lighter when packed neatly in a bookcase.) What ensues is one of the most effed up moving jobs in the history of moving jobs, dating back to the Egyptian pyramids. Pack, transport, unpack, repeat, pack, transport, unpack, repeat – also known as “the most inefficient method of achieving anything.” I’ve seen six year olds on a beach come up with better ways to transport sea shells than this.
After the second trip, I am wasted. I’m walking these boxes down three flights in my building and up to the fifth floor in The Girlfriend’s building. (FACT: Walking up stairs is harder than walking down stairs, unless you are a bear.) As I drive back to my apartment for a third round, the sun is setting, both literally in the sky and figuratively in my soul. As I take the last step of the last trip into The Girlfriend’s apartment that night, I collapse amidst a pile of mess (NOTE: I plan on writing a poem entitled “I Collapse Amidst A Pile Of Mess,” so no one steal it.)
I immediately take off my clothes, at which The Girlfriend seductively growls, “You stink.” I plod towards the shower and even though The Girlfriend’s apartment has negative water pressure (it actually sucks water off you) I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a shower more, except for that time I was seduced by a Russian classmate in college who ended up buying me a beeper. (Her buying me a beeper has nothing to do with her seducing me, but I include it in every reference I ever make to her because I find few things more funny than the fact that a) she bought me a beeper, and b) when I was in college people used beepers.)
After the shower The Girlfriend and I set to work organizing the mess so we could at least get to the important places like bed and the refrigerator. And just as I am about to settle in for the night with a few projects and some prescription pain medication, the buzzer rings. It is a guy from Craigslist who is buying a piece of The Girlfriend’s furniture, a bar with a stainless steel countertop from her kitchen.
Me, shirtless, reckless hair and wily beard as a result of stress and neglect. TG, still hasn’t showered, smelling poorly. I run to put on a shirt before he opens the door. I happen to grab a neon orange t-shirt – the same color t-shirt TG is wearing. Craigslist Guy opens the door to us standing there smiling. He is dressed to the nines as though going directly to a club after taking our table. He did not however factor in the fifth floor walk-up, hence he is dripping sweat. Pleasantries are exchanged and merchandise is inspected. We pick it up here.
Craigslist Guy: “Wow, you two have matching shirts on.”
Me: “Ha, yeah. You know, we like to coordinate.”
TG: (dirty, stressed out, twitching as she feverishly cleans out the drawers of the bar, which she neglected to do before hand) “HA, yeah. No.”
CG: “I don’t know what Craigslist etiquette is, but I only brought a check. I could run to an ATM if you want?”
TG: “I’d prefer cash.”
CG and I set to flipping the table over and unscrewing the legs as the absurdity of the scene reaches Kafkaesque proportions. It is agreed that I will carry the legs, TG will carry the stool and CG will carry the table top, the heaviest part.
CG: “Craigslist is so funny, isn’t it? You walk into people’s homes and buy their furniture.”
Me: “Yeah, and it’s not all weirdos either, you know? I mean you seem normal, and we consider ourselves pretty normal . . .” (FORESHADOWING ALERT)
We walk out the apartment door and begin down the stairs with CG in the lead, me behind him and TG bringing up the rear. I have the four table legs bundled under my arm. No further than five steps down, one of the table legs slips from my grip. In my effort to catch it, I actually bat it through the air towards CG below me.
TG: “HOLY OH MY GOD JESUS OH NO.”
The table leg, with a heavy steel screw protruding from one end, misses CG’s head by inches, crashing down into a wall below him.
Me: “OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK?”
CG: (wide eyed and obviously scared) “Yeah, I’m . . . yeah.”
We continue down the stairs in relative silence and when we reach the street CG goes off to find an ATM.
TG: “He’s not coming back is he.”
Me: “I wouldn’t.”
Several minutes later he returns with cash. We make the transaction and help him hail a cab. The minute the cab pulls away I realize that we forgot to give him the drawers that went along with the unit. TG calls him and he says not to worry, that he will get them at some point in the future. Not unsurprisingly, we still haven’t heard from him.
AND THAT CONCLUDES EPISODE ONE! Stay tuned for Episode Two where, in the midst of everything, we get a family portrait taken!