"A Moving Experience"
By Jack Bogut
I think I know now why there are no more Nomads. They gave up! They had to settle down and stop wandering because it got to be too much work to move. They acquired too much stuff. What a shame. Great tribes of people used spend carefree lifetimes wandering from one oasis to another, staying just long enough to get tired of the scenery or wear out their welcome, whichever came first. And whenever the mood hit 'em or the well went dry, they picked up their belongings and left. Isn't that at least part of what freedom is all about?
Whenever life started to load up on the Nomads, they just threw everything they weren't wearing or eating onto the rug, pulled the four corners together, tied a knot in it, threw it onto a camel or a horse, struck the tent and left!
If a pack animal got a hernia, that was a sign they had too much STUFF, so they just threw things away, lightening the load until the painful expression left the animal's face. Whatever they discarded either went to somebody staying at the oasis or it was simply left behind. If they did none of the above, they undoubtedly had to get more pack animals for the stuff and hire people to take care of the animals. In fact, that's probably why some nomadic tribes got so big and had to settle the first towns and cities. They had accumulated TOO MUCH STUFF!
The reason I'm telling you all of this is that a friend and his wife just went through an experience he called a "Marriage Tester!"
They moved from an apartment to a new townhouse about two blocks away. He said this was the classic love‑hate exercise. Before the big day, he loved his wife and hated the move. After the big day, she loved the move and he…
His wife is the organized one in their family, and she had been planning this transition for about a year. He, on the other hand, had tried to avoid thinking about the move altogether. And he was pretty successful until he came home one day and the minute he opened the door, detected the subtle but distinct aromas of cardboard and packing tape. That was the first bad sign. The second, he said, was when he went to get a drinking glass from the cupboard.
"Honey, where are the glasses?"
“Packed. All of them?"
"In which box?"
"I don't remember."
"Aren't they labeled?"
"They don't have to be labeled. We're going to unpack everything, you know."
My friend said he had to take a small amount of abuse because of the subsequent lip prints on the lemonade pitcher.
Their conversations became shorter as the activity level increased.
“Honey, why is the powder room door locked?”
"I just cleaned it. Use the one in our bedroom."
"I can't. You dumped stuff in there. It's pea‑green and boiling!"
"Give it fifteen minutes. Why don't you go get some gas in the car?”
He said he began to learn about Murphy's Law as it pertains to moving your worldly possessions. For example; a move is not a move in the classic sense if you haven't packed something you need to use at the moment and have no idea where it is. And, if you're moving a short distance, it's a given that you will transport enough stuff in the car so that you cannot conveniently live in either place.
"Honey, I've moved all my clothes to the townhouse." She told him.
"Good for you."
"I notice you still have a lot of clothing in your closet", she said, a little edge in her voice.
"That's so I'll have what I want to wear when I need it."
"Well...you always wait until the last minute so I moved some clothing for you." She said in her sweet voice.
"What did you move?" He asked in a panic!
"I just grabbed a few things in your closet and took them down in the car."
Fear stabbed at his heart like an ice pick He knew she had painted him into a corner again. No matter what he wanted to wear, no matter what he chose, he knew he would not be able to put together a complete outfit because part of the ensemble would be at the townhouse; or vice versa! She had pulled the plug on him. If he wanted to be able to find anything…he'd have to move everything. Which is just what she wanted him to do in the first place.
He told me he hadn't waved at her so much since they were dating. He said they usually passed on the street, going opposite directions, one of them taking a load to the townhouse and the other going back to the apartment for another. They'd "Honk" if they "loved moving" (to paraphrase an old bumper sticker). She honked and smiled every time we met. He lasted the first two. He said they moved so much stuff before the movers got there that he almost accused his wife of hauling stuff back on her return trip.
Finally, even though the apartment was empty and antiseptically clean, she was still hard at work.
"Honey, the cleaning people are going to come in tomorrow and go over this place anyway, why are you polishing the doorknobs and combing the carpet?"
"Because I don't want them to find a mess!"
"Mess? This place is spotless. There's nothing for the cleaning people to do now. They should send YOU a check."
"Well, I think we're done." She said, ignoring him.
"Couldn't we at least write a message in the carpet? You know, give 'em some reason to vacuum the place?"
"Here", she said, as she handed him the vacuum cleaner. "I'll lock up."
He told me they left the apartment, drove the two blocks like they were a small funeral procession and pulled both cars into the new garage at the townhouse. He opened the basement door and tripped in. There were boxes everywhere. It looked like they were mating somewhere in the house and leaving their offspring anyplace you needed to step.
His arches flattened as he hoisted a box full of pots, pans, casserole dishes and lead weights for the grandfather clock. He hooked the edge of the box on his belt buckle (famous professional mover's trick) and started up the stairs.
"Be careful of the wallpaper", she called from somewhere in the house.
As he teetered on the landing at the top of the stairs he turned the corner into the hallway and wiped the brand new, cream colored, textured wallpaper with the only dirty spot on the box. It looked like a drunk with a blowtorch had waved at a snake in the corner.
"What's in this box? He groaned. "It feels like…"
"STUFF!" She called in the distance.
"You know, Pots, pans, casserole dishes and the lead weights for the grandfather clock.'
"Why would you put all these things in the same box?"
"Well, it's obvious. They go together! Is it too heavy for you honey?"
"I can handle it!" He answered through his teeth.
Masculine ego has probably accounted for more hernias than any other single cause.
Just then, one of the lead weights fell through the bottom of the box, bounced down the carpeted steps and landed in a box of dishes with a crash. That brought her!
He said he gave her one of his best, terminal stares.
"I think we'd better wait for the movers", she said, softly, as she kissed him on the cheek.
Mentally, he pumped his fist.