Archive for Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chaotic stability

August 6, 2008

I'm never moving again.

Of course that's what I said last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

What is it about young adulthood that possesses you to endure the tedious task of shoving your entire life in eight million boxes, then begging or resorting to bribing friends and family to schlep those boxes and horrendously ugly, flowered, secondhand couches up several flights of stairs in the Midwest summer heat every year?

Is it the inability to afford something more permanent? The insatiable restlessness? Or, is it just pure stupidity?

For me, it's always some sort of extenuating circumstance that forces me to continue the vicious cycle.

The walls of my brick shoebox in Moore Hall at Kansas State University were closing in on me even before the first year of college was finished. While I loved my sorority experience, the word "convent" was used on several occasions to describe my time as a resident there. Graduation bumped me out of my duplex in close proximity of Aggieville after my last year of college and a bit of an indoor mutant wasp problem, among other things, sent me running and screaming from my West Plaza apartment when I returned to Kansas City.

From bad management to even worse roommates to an even more unbearable pest problem, it's always something that makes me think, "I will absolutely die if I live in this place one more second," and allows me to forget just how miserable moving actually is.

Each year, as I begin the oh-so-familiar routine of ripping items off of the walls and throwing miscellaneous objects into boxes, I take the time to purge about half of what I own from clothes I haven't worn in 10 years to old magazines I felt the need to hang on to. But, sure enough, a year later it all mysteriously returns.

Recently I found myself hanging my clothes in yet another new closet amid a new sea of cardboard boxes pondering these questions:

Why is it that I feel the need to hoard six denim skirts when I only actually wear two? Who wrapped up a broken wine glass and packed it, because I know this thing was broken before it even got here? How did this singing, dancing hamster toy make its way into this box? And, more importantly, where did it come from and why do I still have it?

As if I didn't have enough unnecessary stuff to squeeze into a 600-square-foot space, the previous resident always manages to leave a few things behind as well. This time it wasn't the amount of items left, but the nature of the item that bothered me. I turned on the light as I walked into my new apartment and was immediately greeted by a Jayhawks sticker plastered to the dryer. I took a photo to remember the irony, then promptly ripped it off before it burned my retinas.

With the help of my parents and a few friends, the rest of the move went surprisingly well. By evening, we were able to plant ourselves in the center of the cardboard box and bubble wrap jungle, balance pizza boxes on kitchen chairs and laps and enjoy a well-deserved beer or two.

When I move into a new place, I always think this is going to be the one I stay in for more than a year - or, while the blood, sweat and tears of moving are still fresh on my mind, the one I'll stay in until I'm an 85-year-old woman. And, as I looked around, scanning the top of the endless field of boxes and misplaced furniture, I almost believed it, despite the mess I knew would take an eternity to organize.

A lot was different about this move compared to the others. My lumpy, discount mattress that I'm fairly certain was filled with straw and had followed me from place to place for far too many years had been replaced by a queen-sized "big girl bed" delivered by Nebraska Furniture Mart. I had gotten pretty good at handling a level and a power drill to hang shelves on the wall instead of relying on Dad to do it for me, and there wasn't a flowered, second-hand couch in sight.

However, the next 12 months are filled with the same old mixture of hope and uncertainty as always. I'm just glad my friends take bribes because moving day is quite possibly only a year away.

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