Especially don’t ask any questions that might have long, boring answers.
My Book will be titled:
How I Ended Up Impoverished in Appalachia After Being Born into a Family of High Society Blue-Bloods and Assorted Rocket Scientists and Then Getting a Long and Expensive Education at Public Expense Followed by a Series of Excellent Jobs, Three Divorces and the Birth of A Mathematical Son Who Flunked Out of College, the Rat
Request an advance copy from Amazon.com.
Thank you. Thank you very much…
What I did today: I wrote this.
OK, I’ll try harder. The last few days I’ve been bingeing on Robin Williams videos, with questionable results. I’m … impressionable. Every impression Robin has done in the last 40 years is currently doing the Grand Tour of my brain, and it’s getting crowded in here. Especially since I’ve been trying to write some stuff for this Blag, and I keep flipping between my voice and Robin’s . This has made the day difficult, because, much as I adore and admire Robin Williams, he can’t write this material for me. I have to hear *my* voice in my inner ear, or I can’t write. Though if I could hear, say, Terry Pratchett’s, or Mark Twain’s voice in here, wouldn’t I jump at it!
Finally I found myself walking out to unlock the gate and yelling Robin! Go Home! Good thing I don’t have any neighbors, hunh? Don’t think I don’t know it!
Things have finally settled down, now. Robin had to leave. And I’m too tired to support more than 3 or 4 personalities at the moment; we had to draw straws. Sadly, Sarah Who Does Dishes had to go. Sigh.
I’ve Been Moving. You know what that’s like. Looking at all the stuff that you obviously once wanted enough to spend money on even though now you are paying someone to haul it to the dump. Packing all your son’s toys in the hopes you’ll someday (later, much later) have grandchildren. Keeping all the papers even the electric bills that go back to 1991 in case you get audited by Homeland Security…
My problem is that I moved from a house we’d lived in for 11 years to a cabin we built in 1993. For years we had two of everything – though both of them always ended up at whatever house we weren’t in when we needed them, now they are both here. So I ran up on that thing from high school physics that says you can’t put two things in the same space. This has made moving a lot like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Or like the old problem about the goose, the fox and the sack of corn.
First of all, the cabin was packed, wall to wall. Boxes everywhere. In the middle was a huge bed that I bought for my son – extra long so his feet wouldn’t hang over the end – it fit fine in his bedroom in Lexington, but when I got it here it seemed to take up the whole house. Finally I lugged it to the back porch, carving little scars in my hardwood floor all the way. I’ll worry about those later I decided. Probably we’d never see them what with all the furniture…
I spent days lying awake, rearranging furniture in my head, trying to work out where everything would go. I had it all worked out, but unfortunately my visions weren’t to scale.
Say I wanted to move object A (with the stereo on it) and replace it with object B, moving A into the next room. First I have to take all the stuff off of B and put it somewhere. Then I take all the stuff off of A and put it on B. Then I move A a few feet so I can get B into place. This means taking all the stuff back off B and putting it on A again. It also means moving the cat (cat’s always sit on whatever you touched last – they aren’t really psychic like dogs, who always lie just where you’re about to step.) Then I haul B into position and take all the stuff back off A and put it in its final resting place on B, once again removing the cat.
Now I go into the room where A belongs and discover there’s a bunch of stuff where A has to go. There’s nowhere to put it except in the empty spot where A was, so I haul it there, removing the cat and tripping over the dog. Then I survey my morning’s work. The place is still packed – no net progress. There are still boxes everywhere.
Did you ever wonder who invented the box? Everyone wonders about the fellow who invented the wheel, but I wonder about the person who invented the box. This is because I think boxes are evil. Think of the trouble Pandora had with hers, and she wasn’t even moving her stuff at the time.
When you are moving stuff, there are no boxes. No one has any, not your friends, not the liquor store, not the grocery. In desperation you contemplate buying them from the UPS store which is when you discover just how valuable boxes really are. To the UPS guys anyway.
When you do get some boxes, they’re never the right size.
At first you’re the picture of organization. Each item goes into a box with like objects, and the box is hermetically sealed and minutely labeled. Fragile it will say, “frog vase, Aunt Hattie’s mirror, sea shell mosaic of Myrtle Beach, Little Willie’s ashtray from camp Or Lamps: Popsicle, two, antler, one, Uncle Bead’s cowboy boot lamp, Little Willie’s macaroni lampshade.
Pretty soon you realize at this rate you’ll still be packing by the time Little Willie drops out of college so you pick up the pace. Now you grasp the nature of infinity for the first time, because no matter how much stuff you pack, the pile of stuff left to pack never decreases. In fact, it gets bigger because you’re opening closets you haven’t been in since the Truman administration. You’re finding clothes from the 60’s that would have embarrassed Tiny Tim, you’re finding Gary Hart and Michael Dukakis for president buttons, and both the scarves that your sister swore she lent just before she stopped speaking to you in 1991, the ones you swore you’d never seen…Since they’re both Neon green paisley tie-dye, you contemplate sending them back to her just for spite, but you don’t have time. Also her address is in all those papers you packed two weeks ago and will never see again (every cloud has a silver lining).
By now you’re just heaving stuff into boxes, sometimes from across the room. Closing them with the old over-under-over-under flap technique. Forget labeling them. Which is just what you do, only to discover when you get to the new house that the box’s previous user did label them, so when you finally find the one that says cutlery it turns out to be Little Willie’s snail collection.
And when you’re finally done, your house is full of empty boxes and nobody, not your friends, not the liquor store or the grocery, not even the guys at UPS wants them.
Originally posted January, 2010 to a blog I forgot I started: it seems like just the thing for today’s weather, which was rated: Under Wet Wool Blanket in Sauna, for those of you keeping score.
I’m a denizen of Eastern Kentucky, though not by birth. Presently I write. Humor if I’m lucky, memoir if I must. Since early childhood my ambition has been to live alone in the woods, and now I do. Color me a happy camper! And I write because I cannot stop myself. I’ve posted to Gather.com for some years and now I’m breaking free and blogging through the woods with pen and camera.
Yikes! and Enjoy!