The Move



Last time, coming or going

It’s Friday, about 2 pm. I am on my way home on a tram filled with young teens and kids, who, while in various stages of personal and physical development, share in common a momentary ecstasy that is born of the beginning of the weekend. I am immensely jealous.

Since I was a kid, there has never been anything quite as euphoric as a Friday afternoon. I have always loved the “look ahead” stage. More a fan of Christmas Eve than Christmas, a fan of the last weeks of school rather than the beginning of the summer holiday. It’s when I have everything ahead of me that I am happiest. And Friday is just that – everything is ahead of me and the possibilities are endless. Pizza and a movie, a nice walk on Saturday, a nice walk on Saturday that ends conveniently at a pub. So on any other Friday I would be sitting on this tram, outwardly a middle-aged dude listening to podcasts, inwardly a twelve year old with a peach-fuzz mustache throwing the devil’s ears at passing motorists.

But this weekend is the weekend in which I will move. After two weeks’ prep, planning, organizing, boxing, bagging, and throwing away huge portions of the collected booty of thirteen years, it will happen. Without touching the obvious horrors of tragedy or medical crises, there is nothing worse to look forward to on a weekend.

Friday night is spent standing in various rooms in my house having meltdown moments. “Has someone fed these things after midnight!?” I scream to the ceiling, wondering how our bags and boxes are multiplying. “What is this? I don’t own a toaster! Where has this thing been, just waiting for me to move it!?” I occasionally center myself (read: avoid prison) by sitting on my soon-to-be-disassembled bouch (bed + couch, you get it) and eat some form of carbohydrate while watching a sitcom and purposefully not looking at the room beyond my laptop.  

The misery that comes with moving isn’t the carrying and lifting, but the fact that every single thing has to be reckoned with. Whether that means it gets thrown away, put in a bag and brought to the new house, or set on fire and thrown out the window. Everything from the deep, darkest caverns of the last thirteen years must be dealt with. Every single item. Everything.

And some of it ain’t mine. A whole lot of it is Burke’s. Things which she owns that will prove invaluable in two days are sending me into insensible fits of rage now. “Why does this table have so many legs? Where do all these legs go!?” She knows me well enough to put on an episode of Parks and Recreation and walk away. Despite the fact that I look relaxed and calm while watching TV in those cool down intervals, I am making a revenge list on a pocket notebook I pulled from behind the kitchen utensil tray.

Thirteen years of this flat has seen four other long term flatmates and countless other short term inhabitants, each of whom left their mark in the form of, no doubt, shit they just didn’t feel like taking with them. And now I have to deal with it. I do not yet know the form of my revenge, but it will be brutal and specific. When I drift off to my uncomfortable, unhappy Friday night sleep, I dream about it. I withhold those details on the grounds of possible future incrimination.

Saturday. I’ll spare you the long version of my meltdowns and offer this overview. Meltdown. How?! Let’s cancel. I am never moving again. It’s gonna rain! How the f*(*(& do you take that f%#&ing bouch apart! Let’s just leave it here.

My friends save the day. Lee arrives with meatloaf, port wine, and a good head of logic and knowledge. We bring most of my things downstairs before the moving guy arrives. He marvels at our efficiency. We give him orders. We’ll bring things down, you get them in your truck and ask any one of us if you need help. Til then, work!

Forty minutes later, our two-vehicle caravan is driving across the city with everything I own on this earth. PJ awaits us at the new place. He’s standing outside. He organizes the unloading by suggesting we take everything out of the truck first and let the moving guy go on his merry-charges-by-the-hour way. We do that. Filip goes off into the gray day. The Professor himself shows up with Chlebíčky and keys to my storage unit. He helps brings things up the steps. PJ pulls out his housewarming gifts, slivovice and toilet paper.

Things are done efficiently enough to impress the Army Core of Engineers and the Seabees. We are done in about thirty minutes. Everything is in the flat, filling up the rooms. Tomorrow I’ll have to clean the previous flat from top to bottom and while it will be another nightmare, at this moment I do not care. We all have a slivovice and assess the flat. It’s a cozy and pleasant place in Prague 6. Two nice big rooms, a little office room, a kitchen. I no longer have a view of the castle and Vyšehrad, but rather a charming view of a courtyard and a sleepy side road. I’ve traded in east for west.

A tough view to beat. Goodbye Podoli!

I am sad, of course. One does not spend thirteen years in a flat without developing some personal attachment to it. I know that tomorrow when I walk out of it for what will most probably be the last time, I will feel the brunt of that sadness. And I am right.

But for now I try to take solace in the novel pleasures of my new place. No more fifteen minute walk to the closest shop or the metro, no more ten minute walk to the tram. No more hill. Now I am a two minute (flat) walk to the tram, metro, and shop. I am about a thirty second walk to the local pub, which we visit now so I can do as the recently moved does and buy beers for my friends. I am happy to do it. Almost as happy as I am to know that the next few hours I won’t have to worry about moving or unpacking, just enjoying a Saturday evening with some friends who could own the most successful moving company in Prague.

So I got my happy weekend after all.

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