While I’ve been finishing the sprint to the final paperwork that makes me a debtor to the bank, I’ve also been asking around for recommendations on moving companies. Friends mention several, and reviews on yelp suggest a few that seem promising (till I scroll to the inevitable “I hated this company. They are useless and kick puppies” rant each is graced with by some unhappy soul). Finally, out of some strange sense of solidarity, I pick College Educated movers. Their website has a phone number but when I call, I’m asked to write. How delightfully old (and new) fashioned. So we have a few email exchanges where I estimate my worldly possessions and he offers a reasonable quote. We settle on a date with a possible option for rescheduling, though it doesn’t come to that.
Since the course of true moving never did run smooth, however, the morning of the move (which my landlady plans to monitor), sees me taking me a call from one of the movers at 9:30. He lets me know that they are finishing a move before mine—I am scheduled for the 12-3 slot—and wants to know how large a couch I have. That seems like a reasonable query, so I send him a photo and assure him it’s pretty light. A short while later, someone else rings to explain that the first guy (let’s calls him Jim) had to leave because of an emergency so he (let’s call him Tim) is going to move my stuff alone. The query about the couch from scofflaw Jim now makes more sense—he wanted to feel better about abandoning his co-worker. A college education has apparently resulted in this sort of flawless logic and ethical relativism. I email his boss my worry that the one-man crew seems like a bad idea, not to mention in violation of the agreement we had. To top it off, the weather guys have predicted storm-chaser worthy thunderstorms starting mid-morning, so a quick move is really in everyone’s best interest.
Around noon, while my landlady has parked herself in the hallway and I’m packing the last few boxes with a friend who has come to help, Tim calls again to say that he has finished his morning move. He’s on his way, but he’s going to find someone to help him with mine. I am zen. Instead of freaking out, I ask my friend to help me walk some bags over to the new place (since the quote was based on the number of items that I decided really needed professional movers). We trudge back and forth a couple of times in a misty drizzle. The clock keeps ticking, the landlady’s cousin starts to clean out my fridge—they really want me gone—and the clouds gather like the vanguard of an approaching army.
My friend leaves when I suggest she wrap up other errands on her to-do list as the afternoon passes us by. I almost step out with her to make another run to my new place on foot when we notice the van parked outside. It’s Tim the mover. Cue thunderstorm. Of course.
I take him back upstairs with his dollies while he explains that his helper is finishing another job and will be here any minute. (I am too tired to feel any trepidation when he explains that he tried to pick up a helper by just driving around a Home Depot parking lot.) To his credit, he is quick, as is the second guy who does arrive shortly after. (Let’s call him Bearded Guy from Brooklyn Wearing Plaid because no other dude names go with the Jim/Tim pattern–and because he’s a bearded guy from Brooklyn wearing plaid.)
By this point, the sky is angry and dark and rain is hammering the ground. I try to stay out of their way (which turns out to be a mistake because I will discover months later that I’m missing some boxes of books and pans).
The landlady’s cousin tries to help me in a manner that is part helpful, part eviction-like. I am not bothering to vacuum or do any more cleaning than I’ve already done since they have already notified me of their refusal to return my deposit for some bogus reason (which is apparently standard NYC landlord shadiness).
I hand over the keys to the apartment, drag the trash to the recycling, and walk out of my home of the last three years. Usually, I find moving to be a soul-crushing ordeal; but this one leaves me fairly untouched. It could be that I’m moving three blocks away or that I’m moving to my own home. Irrespective, I follow the van on foot, and though I am being pelted by rain, my face stays dry.
The streets are night-dark as I walk to the service entrance of the building and let the guys park the van before they start unloading. Friends who’ve been waiting all day to help me but need to leave for other tasks by this point, gather to say hello for a minute as the last boxes get carried in. They are wet with some rain but don’t grow mildew despite staying shut for the two months I will be away right after the move. (Or I should rephrase—it’s not the boxes that grow mildew despite staying shut for the two months I will be away right after the move.)
I pay my college-educated peers and tip them for their troubles. The rain hammers away as I look out my new windows but I think it’s nearly over. And it’s almost Christmas Eve day.