Saturday, October 29, 2005

A moving experience

Freshman year at Berkeley, I lived in a boarding house. I took breakfast and lunch at the International House, and my house mom fixed me dinner Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I had to fend for myself. More on that some other time. For now, let me leave you with one suggestion: bran flakes do not make a tasty crust for ling cod. I stayed in a single furnished room with my roommate, Russ*. Thus, when I left home for college, I didn't even need to bring a mattress with me. All of my belongings fit into the trunk of my brother's car: a bike, my clothes, an electric frying pan, a mixing bowl, a few utensils, record albums, a couple dozen paperbacks, and a few assorted tchotchkes. First furniture purchase: a collegiate bookcase -- four cinder blocks and three wood planks. I could still fit everything into the trunk. (That's the boot, Keith.) I didn't graduate from the single-trunk-move until I left Berkeley. By then, I had acquired a mattress (but no frame or box springs. Who needs 'em?) and a motheringly huge desk I'd bought at the Ashby flea market. I loved that desk. To this day, the sight of a large, blank, perfectly flat surface, a stack of clean paper, and a sharpened #2 pencil stirs the geek in me. As an added bonus, inside the desk I found a purple tie with a cow painted on it. The tie's grease spots made it extra special. When I bought the desk and the mattress, I'm sure I never considered the consequences. I had begun a lifelong relationship with U-Haul. At first, I only needed a helping hand with the desk and the mattress. The rest I could do myself. After Karen and I got married, the furniture acquisitions began in earnest. The moves became more difficult, but we still managed it with the help of friends. By the time I graduated from the ENT residency, we needed professional movers. You know what I remember most about those moves? Creative critter transport. We had eleven snakes at one point, including two eight-to-nine-foot boa constrictors, so the back seat of our car sported many tied-up, writhing pillow cases. No, we were never pulled over by the police. That would have been interesting. When we moved to Texas, we brought our two tortoises with us on the plane as carry-on luggage. We hid them in backpacks and stashed them under the seats in front of us. Since big tortoises are notorious for being able to claw through concrete, I dropped a good bit of money on those backpacks. When we arrived at our rental home, I discovered they had both fouled their temporary homes, so I took the packs outside, hosed them out, and then started whapping the first pack on the deck's railing to knock out the excess water. I became aware of the drone of several dozen tiny helicopters poised in attack formation inches from my face. Regarding what happened next, the chronology remains unclear to this day. The following things took place, perhaps in this order: I let out an unholy wail. One of the wasps separated from his brethren and dive-bombed my belly. I teleported from the deck into the living room, somehow managing to close the screen door along the way.** It took months for that sting to heal. By the way, that was the same move wherein I shaved off half a fingertip. Just Texas's way of saying, "Howdy, Jew-boy! Welcome to Texas!"
No injuries today, although my lumbar spine is kvetching. I should sleep well tonight. D. *A guy who deserves a blog all to himself -- 'nuff said. **Note added in proof: Karen says, "I'm surprised you don't remember this. You destroyed that screen door. You didn't close it; you went through it."


Blogger Anduin said...

Funny! I thought you were going to say that the turtle was still in the back pack as you were thrashing it on the porch. Thank goodness it wasn't.

10/30/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Eek! That would have been awful. I once killed two newts by negligence (I cranked the aquarium heater too high, and failed to check it in time), but I've been much more careful since then.

10/30/2005 08:49:00 PM  
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