the inevitability of what i’m calling u-haul moments

Posted by on June 13, 2012

For Poetry Wednesday today I am going to do something really lazy and, instead of including the text of a poem within this post, I’m going to provide a link to it here: In a U-Haul North of Damascus, by David Bottoms.

I feel that I cannot spare too much time on a blog post today because in three days, we are moving. Our move from this apartment does not involve furniture but it involves lots of little trinkets and details. I’m afraid that I have not devoted a lot of time in the past nine months to purging and organizing. I’ve allowed things to accumulate, as will always happen when there are kids in the house, and kept things hidden in baskets, drawers, closets, and shelves. Now that it comes time to extract and order all of this, I find that although this move is objectively easier and lighter than others I’ve been through because it doesn’t involve furniture or the entirety of our possessions, it is still psychologically rough. That is, I find that I’m very vulnerable right now to various kinds of downward spiral moments. Sometimes I am suddenly gripped with anxiety over some random logistical detail (like when I am just settling in to go to sleep and my exhausted body, housing my sleepy brain, is suddenly jolted into wakefulness because it occurs to me that when we arrive in St. Louis, we won’t have a refrigerator for at least the first day). Other times I stop and realize that I am just internally beating myself up for not being more organized and streamlined. (How did our bathroom closet become a heavily populated colony of toiletries that we, for the most part, do not even use. Clearly I’m the most incompetent member of the human race). It is always when we move that I so dearly wish that I were in possession of a far, far more strategic brain.

But my overall point is to say that moving is stressful, and if I thought that this move would somehow be magically less stressful, I was wrong. It is stressful, and I am going to allow myself to be as frazzled as I am going to be, as I will be, as I need to be in order to have the adrenaline to get the thing accomplished. But I will try to leave off the additional part of  kicking myself while I’m down–that lovely side of my personality which packing and moving seems to bring out.

The poem I found for today is, I realize, somewhat depressing, and I am nowhere near that down and out, but I like it for what it expresses about our human fragility, our capacity to be so hard on ourselves, to be haunted by our failures and mistakes. And never is this more true for me, at least, than when my possessions are about to be loaded onto a U-Haul and driven across five or so states. Nothing triggers moments of dejection for me like the process of emptying out closets and drawers and finding those shadowy, neglected, unused, and forgotten items that seem to represent the accumulation of mistakes, miscalculations, and errors of judgement that drag behind me. But, with God’s help, we’ll get through yet another move with some measure of grace, minus the to-be-expected paroxysms of anxiety and dejection, the U-Haul moments.

Posted in: Poetry Wednesday
  1. Kate T.
    June 13, 2012

    I hope the move goes as smoothly as possible. On the bright side, at least you won't need to do it all over again in a year!

    I have to admit, guiltily, that I *love* the unburdening of miscellaneous crap from my possession. I have brief moments of regret over poor decisions, but actually jettisoning stuff gives me a kind of competency high that I have yet to engineer elsewhere. I have actually caught myself fantasizing about everything I am going to toss when we leave this flat. Maybe it's a sign of mental illness.

  2. Julia
    June 13, 2012

    Thanks, Kate. I do admit that once everything is purged and organized and neatly taped into boxes, I do feel a sense of pride and relief over everything that is gone from my life. I also really like the sound of boxing tape.

  3. A M B E R
    June 13, 2012

    It is almost over, by the time you are hearing screech of the boxing tape the worst of the move is over. Well, at least for me. I spend months dreading moving before it happens so by the time there are boxes in the living room I am relieved to finally be in the thick of the action.

    And as I look around my office now I think a move would really help. There is a brass candlestick on my scanner, four paperweights on my desk hidden underneath bills and half-cut out patterns, and six new markers I bought in a fit of boredom in Midtown last week. Maybe this is why I've moved every two years since I was 18.

    I am dreaming about colors for your walls.

  4. Julia
    June 13, 2012

    Thanks, Amber. You're right– I've often wondered what I will do about clutter and accumulation once I am in a place for longer than 2-4 yrs. And I'll be consulting you about wall color.