WEEKEND Beach Bum
|by Eric Morrison
|Moving Up...Moving Out
I hate moving. Who doesn't? What could be more frustrating than uprooting yourself, packing all your worldly possessions into cardboard boxes from the grocery store that may or may not contain roach larvae, and paying people twice as much as what you get paid per hour to haul your stuff across town, only to unpack it all again? Then, you get to set it all up again, deciding which picture goes where and if it's really centered above the couch, if it's too high or too low. Should the pictures be eye-level? That's what Martha Stewart says, but I always like my pictures a little higher than eye level. It's more difficult for house guests to see the gray glazing of dust that way. Then, if you put your favorite easy chair in one place and decide in a month that you don't want it there after all, you move it but the leg indentations stay for a while, like four annoying carpet crop circles reminding you of your inability to make a simple decorating decision.
Actually, I'm very excited about this move. I've always wanted to live in a mid-West fanatical commune, and I'm finally doing it! Just kidding. Really, I'm moving from the big, bustling city of Wilmington to the little town of Bear, Delaware. I still don't understand why the area is considered part of Bear, considering it's surrounded on almost all sides by Newark, a somewhat fun and funky college and banking town. I'd much rather say that I live in Newark than Bear, a town named after a big scary beast known to strike campers dead with one slash of his huge paw. Then again, maybe the town is named after a friendlier animal, like Smokey the Bear. Growing up, I loved that bear. I'd huddle up close to the television each time he reminded me that only I could prevent forest fires. Being a touch on the neurotic side, I always took the message personally, and that was quite a load for a five year-old to...well, bear.
My roomie and I have lived together for two years and at the end of this summer, we're going our separate ways. Or at least I'm going my separate way. We had a big fight last week over the electric bill. I thought she should pay more than her half because she uses the blender a lot more than I do. She disagreed and things got a little out of hand. I'm leaving her body in our storage unit. As often as that rat cellar is cleaned, she'll look like the Crypt Keeper before they ever find her. KIDDING AGAIN! My roomie and I have gotten along very well for the most part during our time together. She's anal and I'm a bit of a slob, so we've kept each other pretty well balanced. Since college, I've never had a positive experience living with a roommate, but things worked out quite well this time around. In fact, I'll miss her, although I won't miss her big, mean cat whose disposition can turn on a dime like Sybil.
It struck me the other day how much "the gay thing" figures into my move. Keep in mind, I'm very much out and more than a little bit obsessive. When I went to apply for my prospective new apartment, I couldn't help but wonder if the property manager was family-friendly, and I'm not talking about families with one man, one woman, and 2.5 kids. I don't flame like a Burger King Whopper, but I'm not the butchest thing in Skechers, either. (The drag queen eyebrows are usually a pretty good give-away.) Living in a state with no legal protection against sexual orientation housing discrimination, she could have taken one look at me and declared, "We don't allow your kind of people here," and sent me on my merry way. I don't know if such blatant discrimination has ever happened to any Delawarean, but I'm sure it's happened in less obvious ways. Fortunately for me, the property manager struck me as an enthusiastic and open-minded bundle of energy, and things look good for my application. Of course, it could be a different story for the neighbors the first time they get a load of Anita coming up the steps at 2 o'clock in the morning.
Moving is kind of like New Year's Evea great time to make a fresh start and clear your head. It's also a great time to clean out your closets. I haven't rummaged through my wardrobe since college, so I did that over the weekend. Today, junking up my beautiful new Chevy Equinox, are a dozen large garbage bags stuffed to the gills with jeans, short, shirts, sweaters, shoes, and unmentionables. Some of the clothes just don't fit me anymore, and some of them are so utterly hideous that I can't believe I ever wore them in any lifetime. I learned that I own more button-down flannel shirts than both of the Indigo Girls put together, and that I apparently went through a phase where I though chunky platform boots were very masculine. When I came out of the closet in college, I went on a big, gay shopping spree and bought what I thought were queer clothes. The only thing queer about them was the fact that any man would purchase such sickening colors or dizzying patterns. One of the shirts looked like someone threw up all over it. Since I'd never worn the shirt I wondered what had happened, until I realized that it was just the design.
I've made more moves than I care to count. This will be the sixth place I've inhabited in a decade, not to mention all the college moves at the end of each year and during winter sessions. Despite all the headaches associated with any move, I'm really thrilled about living alone again. I have my two feline friends, Stubbs and Lilith, to keep me from getting lonely. I've informed them of the impending move, but I don't think they really care. They're too full of the bliss of chaos, hopping into half-filled moving boxes, chewing on packing tape, and exploring areas formerly covered by furniture. Personally, I can't wait to leave out the dinner dishes all night, refuse to clean out the refrigerator, and vacuum in the nude without anyone telling me I can't or shouldn't. Moving into a new place is always an adventure, and I'm always up for an adventure. I'm not thrilled to lug heavy boxes and furnishings up and down several flights of stairs. I wish I could click my heels together three times and be moved in already, but like anything else in life, you take the good with the bad.
If you're not busy washing your hair the last weekend in August, why not help Eric move? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 10 July 29, 2005