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Square Dance

Oct 9 2004

Last May I helped my brother move from Denver to Phoenix. I travelled through four states in three days, completing a square dance through the southwest: Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, then home. And I decided that moving should be an olympic sport.

They say the great sports are all mental games as much as physical. Moving is a seven-dimensional Rubik's cube, involving not only spatial reasoning, but strength, endurance, timing, and if you have a family, extreme child care. Will everything fit in the truck? Will you have the strength to rearrange the mattresses for the fourth time when it's clear that things won't? Will you remember to pick up the parts from Home Depot before they close so you can fix the sink at midnight so the realtors can sell the house? Can you stand to back up one more box of random nicknacks? Can you sell the fake trees from the office to somebody else so you don't have to pack them in the truck? Can you get to Phoenix on time even though you've left a full day too late? What's the shortest route? What's the quickest?

The professionals, I hear, barely break a sweat. They walk in with cardboard, packing tape, and protective wrap, cooly survey your possessions and break them down by patterns as familiar to them as football plays. The foreman sends the signals, calls the plays, and soon everything you've got is simply in another place. Even the jobs where someone has kept every issue of their magazine subscriptions and greeting cards back to 1978 (which, incidentally, was the last time they vacuumed) are just another challenge.

But the rest of us acquire that hunted, haunted look of a person who must move all their material possessions within mere days, swearing to give to goodwill and never buy anything again. To us, the task may as well be one of the labors of Hercules, and we are as likely to do it easily and well as we are to compete with Ian Thorpe.


Great topic. In my last move, I was secretly hoping for the house to burn down and for it not to be my fault. There were a lot of things that we moved from our storage room in Orem directly to our attic in Rochester. 60% of those things have remained unopened in the 3 years we've lived here. These are things that make me grateful our attic has a window through which many things might fit. It also makes me grateful that they are in an attic and not a basement.
2004-10-21 15:57:17
Dave F

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