I moved this past week. Apartments. From one in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC up to the Dupont Circle neighborhood of DC. I moved from Capitol Hill because I was sick of being near the putrid incompetence of our government. Also, I wanted to be closer to the Metro. To be honest, it was mostly the whole Metro thing. The putrid incompetence of our government, sure. But mostly I wanted to be closer to the Metro.
I’ve never been a huge fan of advice columns, mostly because who the hell am I to give advice, but I picked up a couple things over the past week that I think should be shared for your next move. Do what you will with the information.
1. Be kind.
You’re going to fail at this one. I can tell you that now. Doesn’t matter how stoic you are, how calm, how level-headed. You’re going to lose your mind. At some point or another, you’re going to stare at your girlfriend, as I did this past week, and say to her, “Babe. I love you. You are the light of my life and the moon to my stars. Without you, I was lost. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and if you hand me the wrong freaking allen wrench one more time, I swear on everything that is holy I will smother you in your sleep tonight.”
It’s going to happen. The trick is to limit it. Limit the meltdowns. Smile. Laugh at the absurdity. Expect the moving truck to not have any gas. Anticipate your buddy who’s helping you to smash all your plates. It’s all going to go to crap. Just know that. Entropy, or something, if I remember freshman science. Chaos will occur. Go in expecting that, and try to be as kind as possible.
2. Remember to eat.
This is directly related to number one. When you don’t eat, you feel hangry. (Hanger = anger spawned by hunger.) Hanger is a horrible emotion. It comes from deep down in you, a bubbling cauldron of stress and caloric deficiency leading to a meltdown of child-actor proportions. You might not even think you’re hungry. Just eat anyway. This isn’t about enjoying the meal. This is straight fuel.
3. If you’re wealthy, hire someone to do all this for you.
4. Whatever time you think it will take, double it
This is directly related to the whole entropy thing earlier. Like a blind date set up by your aunt, the moving process is all going to go to to crap. It will. Give yourself time to deal with it.
5. Be kind
I’m repeating it because it’s the only thing that matters, actually. I don’t care what packing tape you buy or what organizational system you use or even if you remember to eat. All the other things boil down to this: be kind.
Why? Because in the midst of you moving, when everything (as we’ve discussed ad nauseum) has gone to hell, and the movers have destroyed your favorite lamp, and your friend who was supposed to help you is a no-show, and you lock yourself out of the new apartment for the second time that day, and the new building manager you’re pretty sure might have copped a feel when he was helping you move the box spring… when all that happens, it’s so easy to break down. To imagine that the entire world is out to get you and that everything is unfair, and that this process was specifically built to ruin your life. And that’s when you snap.
That’s when you yell at your boyfriend, who took the day off work to help you. That’s when you scream at the movers, who make eight bucks an hour to slowly destroy their knees and spine and help spoiled kids move their mattress up to the ninth floor of some high rise apartment they could never afford to live in. That’s when you curse at your mom, who flew down from Boston to help you set up your new place.
Don’t do that. It isn’t all about you. Moving sucks, but it wasn’t built to suck specifically for you. Nothing was. Be kind. Appreciate those who help you. Sneak a sandwich. It’s going to be over soon. And when it’s done, people will come over, and see the place that you’ve created, and love it. They will. I promise. Just get there. Kindly.
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