2008-09-18 / Sam Bari

A moving experience

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

Brain: "Okay. Let's get moving."

Me: "Huh? Why?"

Brain: "You know why. The lease is up, and because you are out of your mind, you have chosen to move to a new house. And today is the day."

Me: "Groannnnn."

Brain: "I gave you a brilliant idea. I said, start the new lease a week early. Then you can move slowly, which is your custom, and get things in order. You will have a week to do so."

Me: "Yeah. It was a great idea. But I got busy."

Brain: "And as usual, you waited until the last minute, which is now, and you don't want to face reality. I also told you to hire large, strong, trained people to do this for you. They will even pack your garbage and move it to your new home if you want. But no. You're too cheap!"

Me: "I'm not cheap. I just thought it would be a good opportunity to go through all my stuff and clean house. You know. Get rid of the stuff I haven't used for years."

Brain: "I don't know why I tell you anything. You never listen. You are a pack rat. You never get rid of anything. I've had it with you. I can do better than this. I've had offers."

Me: "All right! I'm going! I just don't understand why I'm always so tired on moving day."

Brain: "That's easy. You're tired because you can never sleep the night before you move. Anxiety gets the best of you. We have probably moved two dozen times together and not once have you taken my advice. It's always the same scenario. Procrastinate, procrastinate, panic. Don't you get tired of the same old dumb routine?"

Does the argument sound familiar? I suppose we all have it to some degree at one time or another. Nonetheless, it is true. I had to move this week. Brain and I go through this routine every moving day. He's a grouch. I is what I are. He just can't accept it.

Anyway, moving seemed like a cool idea when I saw this new place. I know that in a month, exactly one month, when the next rent is due, this really cool place will be just another place. Knowing this, I still signed a lease and committed to moving.

Brain does not see things the way I do. Brains are fundamentally pragmatic, boring, unexciting entities that always try to be so mind numbingly efficient. The truth is, I rather like moving in some sicko kind of way because it gives me a chance to check out all my stuff.

A lot of stuff can be accumulated in let's say, three to five years, and moving gives me an opportunity to catch up on the really cool stuff that I forgot I had, as well as the not-so-cool stuff that I wish I never had. I still have stuff from four moves ago that has yet to be unpacked. Whatever is in those boxes could be valuable antiques by now, but I doubt it.

Yesterday, I opened one of the boxes that followed me around for a couple of decades and found a yellow bikini. That jolted the old memory banks for a moment or two. I remember buying it as a birthday present for a woman I was dating at the time. She pointed it out in a store window when we were walking by, so I thought I couldn't go wrong.

Not a good move. The day before her birthday, her girlfriend told me that she didn't buy it because she was too fat to wear it. I stashed it away thinking I had been saved. Instead, I gave her perfume and made reservations at a snotty French bistro.

When I gave her the perfume, she asked if I thought she smelled bad, and when we arrived at the restaurant she accused me of sabotaging her diet. She dumped me as she stuffed her face with créme brule. Why I have kept this bikini is beyond me.

There is no doubt about it. I have too much stuff. If I were willing to admit it, minimally, 75 percent of my rent is spent on storing stuff I can do without — like this yellow bikini. I'm afraid to throw it in the trash. If anyone saw it, they would question why I had such an item. The truth is too absurd for anyone to believe. I am probably destined to cart this thing around for another two decades.

Moving is mostly unpleasant, but nevertheless, an understandable necessity of life. How a man who is old enough to have two grandchildren can dispose of a yellow bikini undetected is a serious and unnecessary dilemma.

I am never moving again. I am also never going to go through my stuff. Storing stuff is a necessary part of living in a system we can't understand.

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