To paraphrase M*A*S*H’s Henry Blake when his office was surreptitiously emptied, I’m writing to you from deep inside a real big empty.
My home office?which was once filled with the books and posters and trinkets that I imagine would be for sale if my personality ever had a garage sale?has basically been whittled down to a desk, a chair and a computer. And the echo of blank walls.
Everything else is in boxes. (Including the cat, although I think he put himself there.)
That’s because we’re moving, which has gotten to be sort of a bad habit for us. We’re like part-time gypsies. Conservative, evangelical, well-bathed, part-time gypsies.
Wife Hanna and I have been married for two years and three months, and in that time we’ll have moved four times within a five-block radius. I think at the bottom of our marriage license, in print so fine that the letters would slip through a coffee filter, was a clause about never staying put.
The first move was right when we tied the knot and moved into our first apartment: half of a small basement, which as far as I was concerned was a little corner of heaven.
Twelve months later, as our senior year ended, it was time to relocate. So we packed up and moved a block south into an empty Tabor property.
Two months later Tabor needed its house back for students with real money, so we packed again and moved three blocks east into a house in which we planned to sink our metaphorical roots (because people don’t have real roots) for a few years.
But then someone in this house?I’m not pointing fingers here, but there were absolutely no Y chromosomes involved?got to looking at real estate listings online and found a good one. Fast forward a few weeks and several thousand dollars and one kidney (just kidding), and we’re moving. Again. Three blocks north.
Just as I finally unpacked the last of the boxes from our last move it was time to load them back up again.
Actually, that’s not true. What really happened is that for the last week I pulled full boxes from our last move out of the closet where they were hiding and put the contents into new empty boxes.
It’s a kind of sick, three-dimensional game of hoarder’s Tetris.
I think people like to say that moving is nature’s way of cleansing us from all the clutter we build up over time, which is a nice sentiment but as inaccurate as the math in this next sentence. What we really do is throw away 10 percent of the garbage we’ve accumulated and pack the other 95 percent into boxes that we’ll move but never look into again.
At one point?I wish I was making this up?I packed one big cardboard box full of smaller cardboard boxes because you never know when you might need a small cardboard box.
Unfortunately, mixed in the boxes with unmarked burned CDs and cardboard tubes with six inches of wrapping paper left is stuff that I actually need. It took me five minutes to find my toothbrush this morning, and I have no idea where the checkbook is.
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the cat in a while either.