There’s a certain senseless joy that comes unexpectedly sometimes. A sense that everything is ridiculously OK. Better than OK. Good.
Better than good – but precise words escape you.
Recently, this happened during what would have been an otherwise stressful time.
Mind you, part of the catalyst for this was planned.
Years ago, when I first moved from my parents place to an apartment for my bride and I, we didn’t deviate from the norm for youngsters who think they’re striking out on their own. We called our friends, and someone had a truck, and between the lot of us, we moved our junk into the new place.
At that time, we didn’t have much, so it was pretty easy to do. I remember the cardboard side table. We didn’t have a coffee table – just this stupid wobbly table that had cardboard tabs that you stuck together.
I remember going down to Bell Canada to get a phone. We opted for the most ostentatious piece of pretentious telephones in existence. It was an enclosed within a wooden case. And we so we brought it home and stuck it on the cardboard side table. The ridiculous poor man’s placeholder. A diamond carefully place on a platform of smelly dung.
Fortunately, the irony wasn’t lost on us, and we looked at it, sitting there in all its Miss Piggy glamour, and we laughed.
Years went by and we moved at least two more times. Each time we prevailed on our friends, and each time they accommodated us, though with less and less fervour. The last time was a nightmare, as a few who had promised to show up, didn’t. Maybe the reward wasn’t all that great. Being ultra-religious, we did not believe in The Drink. Alcohol was Satan’s elixir, and so we eschewed it, as all Good Christians should.
Too bad. Some of that elixir might have twisted our friends’ alcoholic arms.
When it came time to divorce, I was a pauper. Even Gandhi would have shaken his head in horrified sympathy. Yet, I had learned from history. So, after weighing the options, between eating a good meal and moving, I chose to leave the steak uneaten. Instead, the money was spent on movers.
In the midst of that agonizing time, the beauty of having someone paid to haul the junk was a pleasure that was too immoral to miss. I watched them haul that crap up a long flight of stairs (being poor again meant that there was no elevator in my little apartment above the storefront). I paid them gladly, and dreamt of peanut butter sandwiches.
A few years later, circumstances changed in my favour, and it came time to move to a proper apartment. There was no question of calling on friends. I scouted around at a few grocery stores and accumulated a collection of empty boxes. After filling them, I once again employed some movers to cart it 30 miles to my new place.
It was a wonderfully large, bright airy place. I paid them gladly. With thankfulness.
Sadly, the building management elected to relax some rules, and slowly some of the tenants to choose to tax the plumbing system beyond its designed capacity. They brought in dishwashers and washing machines. This served to suck the hot water away from my morning shower. And then shoot it back again. The evidence was a daily ritual of torture, where a five-minute shower turned into a 20 minute ordeal, with variations of extremely cold water trading places with scalding hot, all within 30 seconds, back and forth. Entirely unpredictable. Add to that the variance of the water pressure, from normal to elderly incontinent flows, and you have the seeds of madness.
Every single morning, I tried out new swear words.
Every single morning.
So, despite the beauty and spaciousness of the place (along with several impotent complaints to the uncaring superintendent), I realized it was time once again to move.
Past experience once again provoked some thought. This time, it seemed a good idea to shoot for the least stress possible.
What would it take?
How about this? How about – instead of trolling around town for cardboard storage boxes…..someone else was employed to do it? And instead of just getting boxes, why not get them to also pack it all? And hey – why not get them to move it all afterward AND unpack it? How cool would that be?
Several months later, I can tell you, it’s *very* cool. It fucking rocks, to be frank.
They came, they packed, they moved, they unpacked.
My stress involved watching them do it, and resisting the urge to lift a finger.
They were great. I tipped them accordingly.
“So” you’re thinking ” this is why you’re joyful?”
That’s part of the picture, for sure. Not all of it though.
As I was moving in, an elderly lady showed up at my open door, and timidly knocked.
“Hi – hope you don’t mind my being a nosy neighbour, but I thought i’d drop by and introduce myself. My name is Pearl.”
Oh man. How awesome is that?
I smiled and quickly crossed the living room.
“Pearl, I’m so glad you dropped by. So good to meet you.” And I shook her hand.
After a few pleasantries, the white-haired woman with the stooped shoulders shuffled slowly away.
I looked out the floor to ceiling living room windows at the trees outside, and basked in the climate controlled flow of air, and took a deep breath.
And realized that this – this was good.