I’ve set this to autopost — well, really, all of these posts are set to autopost, that’s how I roll — but the point is, with this one, as you read it I am supervising the move of all my worldly goods from Wrigleyville on the north side of Chicago to the Prairie District on the south side. Hopefully it’s going well.
You learn two things, generally, when moving:
a) How much stuff you have
b) How little you need for basic survival
Of course, one aspires to slightly more than basic survival, which is why I have eight boxes labeled “kitchen” and about four labeled “linens”. In my defense, they’re small. I don’t have that many boxes of books, because I used to move a lot and books are heavy; I was a super-early adopter of the ebook, though I still don’t own an ebook reader proper.
From the ages of eighteen through twenty-eight, I moved at least once a year, every year. First for school, then away from school, then to Chicago, where I hit my third apartment in three years and decided I would settle there for a while. Despite a plague of wasps, a recurring stream of mice named Lorenzo (Pope Lorenzo XI, may he rest in peace, was the last of his line), and a hot water tap in the shower that I think may actually have had some kind of ancient curse on it, I stayed put because I was just so damn tired of moving.
(It turns out, btw, when you hire movers rather than moving shit yourself, it takes 90% of the stress out of moving. Who knew?)
In theory, I like travel, and I like to experience new places, especially as a resident. I enjoy learning a neighborhood, so I’ve usually tried to make sure that I am, in fact, living in a neighborhood worth learning. I eventually learned to disqualify certain swathes of the south loop during my home-hunt because they simply had no neighborhood. They were just blocks upon blocks of apartment buildings, designed for people who could drive to more interesting neighborhoods. There’s nothing objectively wrong with that; people have to live somewhere. But it wasn’t for me, an inveterate on-footer with a particular appreciation for awkward architecture.
Moving makes you examine your life pretty closely, not only because you’re packing it all up but because of the stress of moving and the cultural weirdness that surrounds it. There’s a sort of gestalt that says by the end of a move you’re supposed to want to kill everyone else involved in the move, and that there will always be unexpected stresses and last-minute messes. I intend to defy this, but then I’m sure I’m not the first. At any rate, it makes you take a step back and look at who you are and the direction your life is going, because our homes so often define us. Even when we aren’t financially able to choose a home to fit us — perhaps especially then — our homes speak volumes about where we stand in our society.
This is literally the first time in my life I’ve been excited about moving. Every other move in my history was either forced on me by external circumstances or was so fraught with financial and physical peril that it was more terrifying than it was satisfying. Moving from Austin to Chicago comes pretty close to being thrilling, but even then it was a leap of faith — no job, no furniture, no local friends, just me and a couple of suitcases on an Amtrak north.
For me, this apartment is a step into the middle class. Unlike many writers, I don’t fear the bourgeois; I’m looking forward to embracing my new condo culture and learning from it, and maybe punking it up a little.
Hopefully I’ll be able to liveblog the event; if so, keep an eye on my tumblr for photos of my new place, possible mentions of emergency room visits, and an update on the state of every belonging I own.