My house, right now, is a maze of boxes. There is a path
leading through the main room to the bathroom and kitchen and bedroom, and a
path over to the window in case of fire emergencies or if I want to watch
television, as if I have any time to watch television. I have pulled up my
rugs, pulled down my pictures, emptied my bookcases. The curtains are down, and
the room looks so much larger without them. There is one towel in the bathroom,
one pot in the kitchen, a fork, a spoon, my fancy knife, and a plate. I have
pared down to the essential essentials; the rest is in boxes, which have made a
maze out of my house.

Of course, if I am living perfectly well on the essentials,
with my pot and my fork and my single towel, as if I am Creepy Uncle Joe,
shambling around my overstuffed house in my undershirt and suspenders,
muttering to myself and drinking tea with knobs of rancid butter and just
waiting for my next pension check. All I
need is piles of newspapers in the corners and to not clean the litter box, and
I can embrace my Creepy Uncle Joeness and never think about material
possessions ever again! Or, I can possibly not snap on a pair of suspenders,
but set all my boxes on fire. I am demonstrating that I do not need
possessions! I need possessions.

Moving has made me feel stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted,
panicked, worried, angry, frustrated and lonely and miserable to varying
degrees at various points over the past month and few weeks and few days (sometimes in
the space of minutes); I never thought it would make me feel greedy, and yet,
that’s exactly what it’s done. I am so greedy, I have to box up all my
possessions, everything I own, and drag it all behind me in a truck, across the
mountains, to Utah. I am so enamored
of my stuff and reliant on things that
I cannot possibly leave a stick of it behind. I am asking E., who is wonderful,
to do me a huge favor and come with me. I am spending money on a U-Haul and gas
and 11 hours in a truck because my possessions are so important to me, and I
don’t know if it’s the getting up at five in the morning every day talking
right now or what, but right now, that sounds like the stupidest idea ever.

When I made my cross-country move, I got rid of everything in the world. I
tossed it all and gave it all away, and I came out with two suitcases full of
pants and a dream. And it felt good, and terrifying, and liberating. Bonus:
little to no unpacking! Of course, when I got an apartment, I immediately went
to Ikea and spent a thousand dollars on stuff,
and I knew what I was doing—I was comfort-buying, trying to make San Francisco and my little studio feel permanent, and
solid, and safe. With Ikea furniture, I
know. But the general principle remains solid.

The original plan was to give everything away, to replenish
from thrift stores when I was out there, to re-do my entire life, and the idea
was tempting. Starting over fresh, from scratch! Brand new vistas, whole new
life, check out those mountains! Those are some big damn mountains, and I can
see them from my completely empty kitchen’s window. Instead, I made the moving
truck reservation, and I am hauling everything with me, because I don’t know if
I can do that, this time. I don’t want to live in Utah forever—I am coming back to San Francisco.
So maybe I am trying to bring San Francisco with me? Or maybe I am overthinking this. That would be a shocker, wouldn’t it?

I am not taking everything; I left 14 bags and boxes out on
the curb yesterday, for charity pickup. I have six bags of books to take and
sell. I have gotten rid of my shredding, cleared out the kitchen of junk I
never used and 7-year-old pans from Target. I am leaving some things behind.
Maybe this is a healthy compromise, here. Bring what I need, shed what isn’t
important, pare down to the essentials to a slightly less Creepy Uncle
Joe-level. Starting fresh with exactly what I need, and everything I don’t
need. Unpacking it all is still going to kind of suck.

2 Replies to “boxes”

  1. Ditching it all and starting over gloriously stuff-free in a new city only sounds good in theory, I think. Or in a novel. Or when you’re still young. Er, I mean younger.

    Despite the hassle and expense of packing up all your stuff, lugging it to Utah, and unpacking it all there, I think it still beats the expense of having to buy everything all over again once you get there.

    I dunno. I have packed up and moved several times since leaving my parents’ nest but never a far distance. Maybe it won’t be worth it. But you have your moving-to-SF experience (sans stuff) and now you’ll have your moving-to-Utah experience (with all your crap in a U-Haul) so I think you’ll be able to assess both sides of the coin and you’ll know what to do next time for sure!

    You must be getting super excited.

  2. I’ve done all this too, the packing/unpacking as well as the bring nothing approach. Both ways are good, but it was much nicer to know I had a couch, and a bed and at tv. No matter how much work it was to move it all! :) Moving does suck though.

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