The first step of moving, the joyless drudgery of packing, is usually the worst part. Although it is not creative or interesting, you still have to think it through and pay attention to what you’re doing or you’ll just have a big mess on your hands. Packing also takes place far in advance of the move so that it is impossible to feed off the enthusiasm that one might have for new places and new challenges while you’re doing it.
In this case, we would leave a three-bedroom house with a full basement and move into a 700-square-foot apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We figured that only about one-third of our possessions would fit into the apartment, so we had some serious choices to make. We had to determine which third of our accumulated stuff would make the move, and what would happen to the other two-thirds. These intense negotiations required much forethought, along with a few Faustian bargains, Hobson’s choices, and even a little of the wisdom of Solomon one hears so much about.
We at least had a free option for storage–my mother-in-law’s garage in Charlotte, NC. Of course, that was 275 miles away from Charlottesville. So, first we had to figure out what we needed to store, boxed-up non-essentials and furniture mostly, and then get it to Charlotte where it would lie in state, gathering dust, cat hair, and other filth for three years.
This trip to Charlotte was the first indication of just how badly things would go with this move. We rented a truck for the trip, loaded it up, and ignorant of the way the stars had aligned against us, we took off.
My wife has a tendency to tailgate. I saw her doing it just this morning on the way to work. She says she doesn’t tailgate, so I’m guessing it’s a definitional thing for her. She doesn’t actually tap the bumper of the car in front of her–that would be just plain rude–so she thinks she’s doing fine. Well, as she followed me to Charlotte, she was “saving gas,” allowing herself to be sucked along in my draft. That worked out OK until we found ourselves in Danville, VA, right on the North Carolina border. I saw something in the road ahead, something metal and spiky, like those things they use to hold tent poles when they set them up on pavement.