In the days before we moved, I made an effort to corral our ever-expanding collection of possessions and put them in boxes. Every night after dinner, I would listen and silently rage as Katsumi chided me, wheedling me to stop working and wait until the next day. Through the whining, I managed to pack one box full of my old journals, one box of martini glasses, three sweaters and two bowls. To say that there was a bit of work remaining, that would be the understatement of the year.
Nevertheless, 4pm the day before The Move found us finishing up a lunch of sandwiches and beer, with Katsumi rubbing his stomach and hinting at a nap.
“Are you crazy?” I replied, surveying the cluttered wreck of our attic apartment, calculating how much sleep I’d have to lose to finish in time.
“Erin, I mean, look around.” He said. “The place is small. How much stuff could we have? Seriously – we’ve only got, like, an HOUR of work between the two of us”.
Clearly, only an hour. I could have curled up and died.
Instead, I threw myself into packing with a zeal normally reserved for shoe shopping and vodka shots. I packed our plates, our toiletries, our DVDs and PS2 games. An hour later, I came up for air to discover that I had made no progress at all. Katsumi, for his part, decided he had to check his email and spent the better part of that hour parked in front of the computer.
This is my old closet.
I sent Katsumi back there to deal with the shoe situation. Instead, he took pictures. I started drinking.
Our landlord made an appearance around 6pm, needling into the question of whether or not we’d need to stay in the apartment until Saturday, and it was all I could do to avoid taking the empty vodka bottle and smashing it over his big dumb head, because seriously? the place looked like Salvation Army on a coke binge, and there was clearly no way we’d be even close to finishing that night. As he left, he joked “ah, well, I had to ask. Anyway, at this point you’d be lucky if you were out by Sunday! Ha ha!!”
and then I kicked him down our three flights of stairs.
Around midnight, Katsumi got tired, and as I had spent the last 30 minutes circling the same empty box while trying to decide if I wanted to do glassware or books, I agreed it might be time for bed. But not before I killed the remnants of our gin. I’m totally not even posting that picture here, because I look like a troll covered in newsprint. But it’s on flickr, so you can find it yourself and then point and laugh.
The next day went smooth, for the first two hours. The boxes I’d neatly packed the night before all fit snug in two carloads, and for a second I had a flash of hope that maybe the rest of the ordeal wouldn’t be such an… ordeal.
then our friends got there for the second round, and with the neatly packed boxes out of the way I was confronted with the reality that all the shit in our apartment had mated and had triplets. Clothes were strewn all over the floor. Old mail and DVDs had crept out from under the television. And random computer parts could be found hither thither and yon throughout.
Somehow, we packed up three more carloads and headed over to East Boston, and when I finally got to the apartment it was so big and spacious and pretty that I decided I was never leaving again. Unfortunately, all our furniture still needed to be moved, so I was dragged out by my heels, screaming.
Then I think i blacked out, because finally, what had been this:
was now this:
and what had been here:
was now here:
and I was driving to get pizza and ice cream for the most amazing group of friends a girl could ever ask for.
Then, not one hour later, but a whopping THIRTY TWO HOURS AFTER WE’D BEGUN, we all got drunk and took pictures of the slugs in the backyard.
At 2am, when most everyone had left and Katsumi was subjecting our friend Scott to the Japanese-Only version of “Final Fantasy: Advent Children”, I sat on the patio with a cold beer in one hand and had my last cigarette of the night. I looked around and tried to take in everything at once: the breeze, the rustle of the trees, the distant wail of a police siren. Meditation is not my strongest suit, but sitting there with my beer and with my cigarette I experienced something like Zen. Like everything, finally, was right where it should be.