kestrel

kestrel
2022-02-19 10:35:35 (UTC)

Prompt 155: City Move

155. You are getting ready to help your friend move. You don't blame him for asking; you couldn't afford movers either. What you do blame him for is living on the 6th floor with no elevator. Describe the pain-in-the-neck move from beginning to end. How do you and the other unpaid manual laborers cope?
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Since becoming an adult, I've had maybe two significant moving situations in my life (three, if you consider the move to and from Nashville, TN, as separate instances). My current plans to relocate out west at the eco-compound have me in a similar state of mind, and I orchestrate plans and think about this a lot.

The first time I moved out of the house and away from family was to move in with my then-fiancee, while I was still in college. It was a rather difficult time in my young life (I was 19 at the time). My father had painfully died of cancer a few months prior. My mother learned that I was engaged to be married literally with my dying dad lying on a bed between us. Apparently, no one in my immediate family was fond of my then-fiancee, though they never said as much to my face - and it's doubtful I would have listened to them anyway.

I announced that I was moving in with my now-ex over family dinner, along with the news that I'd accepted a job at a coffee shop closer to the college I was attending at the time. I didn't want to move until both of us had a job to help pay the bills, and while it took me a while I was able to find one close to campus, and close to where she and I wanted to live (it turned out our first apartment together was a few blocks away, and I would walk to work, and either walk or bike to college classes). The news didn't go over well with my mother. One weekend while she was away at work, I packed all the belongings I could manage, packed them into my then-fiancee's car, and essentially didn't contact my family for about a year.

That lady and I lived together for about 5 years. When she moved out and we began talking about divorce, we had an apartment together and had taken in a roommate: one of my classmates from college. While I was away at work, my ex managed to return to the apartment and remove the rest of her useful possessions. This was about two months into our separation, and upon returning to the apartment and eventually realizing what had happened, it felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. I felt as if I was living in a vacuum. At that point I began to acknowledge that she was never going to come back, and that I better find some way to commit to this divorce instead of clinging to her and our failed relationship. That was a tough time.

Many, many years later (well, when I was 35) my then-girlfriend and I moved to Nashville, TN, from where we were at the time. We had an apartment full of stuff, as well as two cats in tow. While we waited for our move-in date, we crashed at my mother's house in a spare bedroom. We actually justified using one of those "moving pods" or whatever you want to call it. It was a miniature U-Haul storage box, and large enough to fit all our significant-and-not-portable possessions inside. I still remember ridding the empty container of stinkbugs before loading it up with the furniture and housewares and DVDs and books we decided to keep. My now-ex and I looked to the future with a "cheerful expectancy." We both agreed that moving there was the beginning of our "next great adventure," and while there was a tearful farewell with our parents we were excited about it. At that time, the good outweighed the bad by an immense margin.

The move away from Nashville was an emotionally-difficult time. Being immersed in the non-profit sector of Nashville meant that I would interact with religious people on a constant basis, and I didn't adapt well to the incessant Christian miasma that clouded everything. They weren't lying when they gave Nashville the nickname, "The Buckle of the Bible Belt." Anti-black racism is prolific there as well, though I would describe it more as an all-pervasive White Supremacism. I'd heard white folks call black folks "boy," and it was acknowledged with a, "yessir," and all this outwardly-accepted as the proper way to refer to one another.

Those two factors proved too much for me personally - since I still wanted to work in non-profits - so I knew a change needed to be made. A rift also began broadening between my then-girlfriend and I. It was primarily about the two of us pulling our weight financially, and while I was pulling in a steady paycheck, her personal business hadn't taken off as she'd anticipated, we were not prospering as we had hoped, and to cope with this she retreated further into weed and alcohol. I doubled-down on the day job, game design, and bicycling as a way to cope, and started avoiding her.

We broke up, I stayed until close to when the lease on the house we rented was up. After packing what I could into my car (an awesome, resilient Toyota Corolla that I remember fondly to this day), I rolled out: first to visit and work for a few months with friends in New England on their homestead land - which turned out to be a nightmare, easily as low a point as my divorce - and then back to the town I'm in now. I stayed in a spare room at my brother's house for a couple months, but after that it's been this town and the surrounding suburbs.

That started in late 2014, so it's been 8 years I've been back. There have been a few moves I've made here and there, but nothing else significant or of great distance as those mentioned earlier, or what I'm approaching now. I think this is another "pack what I can in my car and roll" kind of situation, though on a much more positive note than when I left Nashville. I'm considering a roof-rack of some kind for the car (another Toyota Corolla, which I've affectionately named "Car"), so more books and more tools can make it with me this time. We'll see.


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