I know that I could just get them from UHaul. Or UPS. Or Ukraine. No, not Ukraine, that was a joke. But, seriously, I will be damned if I pay someone money for an empty cardboard shell. There has to be another way. I Gchat people about this VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM and they are no help. I seem to remember seeing a sign one time when I was biking around town saying someone had empty cardboard boxes available. Maybe it was at that t-shirt store.
I call the t-shirt store, and when the friendly salesperson answers, I forget how to interact with humans.
“Hi, this is weird, maybe, but I was riding around one time, and, well, I thought I saw… um… do you have boxes? For, like, moving?”
“Yep, we sure do.” He is chipper and unfazed.
“Oh good, then I guess I’m not just on crack.”
“Well, I can neither confirm nor deny that, but we do have boxes.”
Okay, score one for the t-shirt guy. But he says I can have them for FREE. T-shirt guy understands the value of a hard-earned dollar. And sure enough, when I show up ten minutes before they close, he leads me past a motorcycle (which is just chilling inside, for some reason) into a room full of boxes and tells me to take as many as I want and tell my friends. I briefly dream of taking ALL OF THE BOXES, building a box castle and crowning myself queen, but instead I take five.
While it has been all fun and games until now, let me warn you that this story does not have a happy ending. Unless you consider “getting home uninjured and generally in good health with some free new boxes to put all my stuff in” a happy ending in which case, yeah I guess it does.
I shouldn’t have biked here. I’ll give you that. But I really don’t want to leave my bike and have to come get it later. I convince myself I can definitely ride it while carrying the boxes. And lo! I can reach the handlebars. Unfortunately, the boxes block the pedals. I tiptoe along, driving like Fred Flintstone for about half a block before I realize it is not going to work. My new strategy involves dismounting and balancing the boxes on top of my bike, taking baby steps as I press my body against them to keep them from falling. I keep thinking to myself “Love your boxes. You have to love your boxes.”
This 7-block journey takes me 25 minutes. On the way, I run into one friend, one acquaintance, one parked car and about 12 boxers jogging in a cluster who apparently can’t bear to be separated since I have to pull my whole operation over onto the grass to let them pass me. One guy sees my glacial pace and pulls over, offering to drive me and my hoard of corrugated cardboard home. I politely decline, because I don’t want to give him the opportunity to take me to a secondary location. Then I feel bad for assuming a helpful stranger wants to kill me, chop me up and catalog my extremities in the very moving boxes he offered to transport for me. This is why I have trouble making friends.
I make it to my street, after a risky crossing of a busy road that took an embarrassing amount of time, thanks to my bike finally giving way. I catch it by letting the handlebar stab me in the thigh and maintaining a death grip on the handlebar that causes the foam thingy to all but disintegrate in my hand. I see another guy carrying empty boxes in his arms and think that we will have a moment. We don’t.
The home stretch: wheeling my bike behind my house, the boxes get legit stuck in a shrub. I cry a little. I drop them on the ground and lock up my bike, considering leaving them there for the hobo I have suspected lives in our equipment shed ever since I found a blanket and a pillow in there. But I dig deep and pick them up, flinging them one by one into my kitchen after I realize I can’t hold the door open and carry the boxes at the same time.
And so, my boxes are home now, resting outside my bedroom door. I resent them, and I fear them, but I hope that filling them with all my worldly possessions will help to bring us closer.