Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Packed up all my cares and woes... Feeling low, here I go...

You know that saying: Friends help you move; real friends help you move a body.

Well, whoever said it first got it totally backwards. Because moving a body only takes one trip.

It’s been a solid week since moving and I can say that if I never have to lift another thing ever again, it’ll be too soon. Of course, my boxes of crap’ll be arriving shortly, so…

You know, when you make a move like this, you have all these fantasies that you’ll just throw off the yoke of American consumerism and shed most of your Earthly belongings. Well, let me assure you. This does not happen, for a variety of reasons.

First (at least for me), your stuff is kind of your identity. It’s what makes you who you are and defines you to the outside world. Which is why it should surprise no one that I found myself wholly incapable of parting with my miniature replica of Sanford Stadium, my margarita glasses, my Dallas Cowboys collector’s edition Super Bowl football, and my collection of snow globes (NOT domes) with city skylines in them (shut up. My three (!) pre-9/11 New Yorks are going to be worth something some day. Also? Shiny.)

Oh, no. Much better that these things go into storage so that, when I die in a fiery ball of death over the Pacific on my way to Bali, such items can be sold at a garage sale for 25 cents. Five for a dollar.

But moreso, I found that you don’t get rid of your shit not because of some clinging to a sense of identity, but in reality because you’re lazy. And you procrastinate. It’s hard to go through your stuff and face that outer limits of your packrat-ism. So, you put it off, waiting for the Shit You Don’t Need Fairy to come do it for you. And then, by the end, when you’re looking down the barrel of a 24-hour flight and two-year commitment, you’ve lost the mental faculties necessary to sort, you’re too emotion al to throw anything away and you don’t have enough time to sell anything.

Such it was that I had to call upon many friends to pack and/or move mountains of shit to various locations. And, to their credit, they gave me parties anyway.

On that note, I won’t say that three and a half going away parties is too much because I like things to be about me and think my birthday should be a national holiday (fyi, it’s March 11). But the multiple parties and the Great Long Good-Bye may have worn out some of my friends is what I’m saying.

I was amazed at how thoughtful and smart some of the gift-givers were (and also bow down to the foresight of those who gave well-wishes instead of things because three 70-pound suitcases is two too many). On the plane(s), I was able (a) to learn how to be a reality tv contestant; (b) to introduce myself to the art of the graphic novel (perfect for reading while standing up); (c) to regale the air stewards with World Facts such that they let me remain standing in the galley even after they sent others back to their seats, and (d) to listen to bunches of new music on God’s Greatest Invention, the iPod.

I will say, however, that even after the introduction of ridiculous amounts of new music, my iPod still loves Mike and the Mechanics’ “The Living Years” like it is it’s job. Seriously, there is no shuffling. When I hit “shuffle,” the iPod is all “woo hoo. Shuffle means it’s my turn and I choose Mike and the Mechanics and a collection of early hits by LeAnn Rimes.” Every. Time.

Once it settles down and gets its LeAnn fix, though, the iPod will inevitably serve up some rocking showtunes interspersed with selected radio hits of the 70s and we fall in love all over again. Carry on my wayward son, indeed.

I have to say that the best gift I got was the simplest: Ponds purse pack of daily facial face wipes and a toothbrush. I was met at the airport by not one, but three members of my new office and without the quick airplane bathroom tidying I was able to do, it would have been ugly. Literally.

(I will also say that you have not lived until you’ve flown from Guam to Palau at sunset. From a height high enough to see for hundreds of miles but low enough to be beneath the ozone, you get to see hundreds of pockets of rainstorms that look like big, cloudy chess pieces on a glassy board, all against the backdrop of a red-orange sky. It’s really breathtaking. Then I literally fell asleep looking out the window before the flight attendant announced that small electrics were ok, so I didn’t get a picture.)

Anyway, the best thing my friends gave me was time and understanding. I dare say that I required more than a little bit of hand holding and babysitting in those last weeks as my move drew near (who, me?) and I suspect I tested more than one set of nerves. There was a particularly glorious total and complete meltdown in the parking lot outside a nail salon of which I am oddly proud. In the same way an errant dog is oddly proud of the extent of the mess it has made after it chews up every single pillow on your couch.

But I’m glad I didn’t have to get cancer or anything to learn what great friends I have. Everybody rocks! Pies all around.

Up next: 24 hours, 3 countries, 10,000 miles and one traveling troupe of musical missionaries.

PS – This was written while sitting on a beach killing time while everyone dives before we all go snorkeling.

Neener. Neener.