The move went as smooth as a move can go. Even though I cursed the three flights of stairs every time I had to carry boxes of books or frames up over the last five-and-a-half years, I somehow forgot how much they sucked until Saturday. Mike and Brian did all the heavy lifting, but I helped as much as I could. Going up and down carrying an envelope got to be a burden after a couple dozen trips. I was glad to hear those guys huffing and puffing. Made me feel a little less old and broken down.
Unloading was a breeze by comparison. Still, watching the mountain of book boxes rise inside made me daydream about taking up a racket that involves fewer physical objects. But what would that be? There’s still a large part of me that thinks the internet is make-believe. Even words don’t seem quite real until they’re on paper. I’m not suited for the future at all.
I took a shower after the guys left and was half-hypnotized by the little circular tiles. They make an op-art effect of vibrating and floating in space away from the grout. Washing will never be the same.
I cleared away enough boxes to put my armchair where I think it will go. Straight ahead is the wall where art-in-progress will go; to the right are the windows to the street; to the left is the long open space of the rest of the apartment, ending with the doorway to the bedroom. I can’t recall living in a place with this much open space since the loft in Allston in the early-90s. Unlike there, I don’t have to share a shower down the hall or have to put up with a roommate who used to be my best friend until we lived together.
I set up my bed and lay down early. It took sometime to fall asleep. I could hear the crazy weekend racers on Archer Avenue half a block away. Footfalls upstairs were new too after living on the top floor. The dog trotting the length of the house, barking occasionally. One time, I looked up at the little bedroom window and caught a glimpse of my new neighbor’s meaty thighs flicker by the thin slit of outdoors the drawn curtain left visible. Being on the ground level will take some getting used to but I sure as hell won’t miss those three flights of stairs.
Sunday morning I walked back to the old place and spent a couple hours dusting, sweeping, wiping, and moping. It’s not pristine, but it’s about as good as can be expected from someone like me, also taking into account five-plus years of wear and tear. After I was done, I took a last walk through. I think the fact I’ve been preparing to leave since last July contributed to the lack much feeling. I had some good times here but I’ve been emotionally removing myself for almost a year. I was ready to move on.
I hope to get the new place into working order over this week. I wonder how many books schlepped here will go in the donation pile? No matter. My easel fits upright with less than an inch to spare, for which I’m thankful. Been lugging that thing with me for twenty-seven years. Truly my cross to bear. In the old place, if I wanted to use it in another room I’d have to lean it sideways and drag it behind me. Here I can roll it the length of the place. Feels like a big luxury. In fact, everything about this apartment does. There’s a kitchen table here. Haven’t had one in many moons. Turns out I like it. Much easier to eat at than in an armchair, holding a plate on my lap. Who knew?
Though the house was built in 1875, this lower level was totally rehabbed a few years ago. I’ve never lived in a place so new. Looking at all my old things, I wonder if they’ll fit. I think they will. Maybe, if I play my cards right, I won’t ever have to move again.
—I contributed a design for a set of Hideout postcards. Sales benefit the employees of that great bar, as well as the artists.