The Moving-House Blues

On my own I managed to shove, jostle, slide, and cajole all my boxes from my 3rd floor apartment down to the ground floor, where the neighbor allowed me to use her beauty studio to store things for the movers to pick up the next day.  Though exhausted I was proud that I managed to do it all myself: all the books, all the shoes, all the pots and pans.  All the sheets, all the towels, pictures, pillows.  All the belly dance costumes.  Do you have any idea how heavy those things are?  My box of razzle-dazzle is just as heavy as my boxes full of books.  And I only have a few (well…a few more than I thought, perhaps.)

So there it all was, sitting in a surprisingly large heap in the little beauty studio.  And I hadn’t yet gotten my confirmation of what time the movers would be coming the next day to pick it up.  But I wasn’t worried.  It would come soon.

Only it didn’t.

When I called the moving company, they told me I hadn’t yet booked my pickup date.  And they couldn’t possibly come tomorrow; every single van was booked for the whole day.

What was there to do but panic?

Now, the panic is over.  My boxes and I are safely ensconced in a friend’s house, and the moving company is coming today to pick them up from here and store them until we move into the flat in Wapping.  They are not coming until the very middle of the day, which meant some frantic phone calls to work to sort things out with them.  But at least they are coming.

I am immensely grateful to have shelter in a warm friendly environment where I can whine endlessly about the hardships of moving and be offered many sympathetic cups of tea.

However, all the stress is making it hard to sleep.  Unfamiliar surroundings always make it worse–I suspect this is true for most people.  For me, I need it to be properly dark in order to drift off.  So first the curtains in the living room must be closed, an act which I’m pretty sure hasn’t taken place in oh, about three years, for they stick maddeningly on the railings.  But even then, like many such rooms, the night is bathed with the light of LEDs on small electronic devices everywhere.  So with the blinds closed the next thing is a process of tracking each light source and finding something to balance over its little winking glow.

The most pernicious offender last night was one of mine–I have a small netbook which has been outfitted with blue LEDs, I assume because the manufacturers think they look cool and futuristic.  They are also, by my estimate, the brightest light source known to man, searing your retinas with their blueness.  The worst of it was that I thought I had turned off the netbook but suddenly I rolled over to find it bathing the room in waves of light and darkness like a crazed Bat-Signal.  “Hey!” It seemed to be saying to me, and to the world, for surely that light is bright enough to penetrate walls.  “Look at me!  I want to play!  It’s not that late! Internet forever!”  And then it stubbornly refused to shut down, behaving as a petulant toddler would at bedtime.  It is at moments like these, as I hunted for a way to oh dear god make the light stop that I realize it is no longer we who control the machines.

As I returned to my couch I glanced at the bookshelf beside it.  Unfortunately, the book teetering haphazardly on the end was a copy of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’, with a front cover depicting a dangerous-looking black cat, cigar and vodka in one front paw, large gun in the other, wearing a purple lounge suit and a dapper top hat, leering out of the bookshelf with a sinister grin.  I uttered a small, resigned sigh at the sinister grin, realizing there would be no easy rest for me that night.

Fortunately, I have a soothing maxim for times such as these.  When the world becomes overwhelming I take a deep breath and think, “Caitlin, are you locked in a room on a flooded houseboat on the Nile that is listing to one side?  No?  Then everything’s going to be fine.”