moving

Moving is a task that's more enjoyable as an observer than a participant.

Friends moved.

Not far but a move is a move. Near, far, it doesn’t matter because even near is farther than you want.

They’ve moved before so they knew what to expect, but no matter how many times somebody moves, how familiar they are with it, people are surprised.

Surprised by how much stuff they have. Surprised by how many boxes. Surprised by how long, how hard and how many trips.

It’s almost easier to move the house and leave the stuff. Here, you take it. We’ll start over.

People only have so many moves in them. Eventually, you’re moved out and the thought of moving again seems preposterous. The only move you have left is when somebody moves you, preferably in a pine box.

I remember former Sheriff Charlie Dodge telling me that when he and his wife, Mary, moved from their house in the neighborhood to the nice rest home they had chosen for their final abode. Sad? He was relieved because he had moved in and he was moved out.

***

Give these friends credit. This time, they hired somebody. Two somebodies. The only thing better than two somebodies is if each somebody brings a friend and those friends bring two friends. Then you have an assembly line, like a row of ants where one ant hands the crumb to the next ant and so on.

Hiring help is wonderful but “wonderful” doesn't get anyone out of moving. Moving is like having a nanny. They can do most of the work, but when your child is running a fever at 2 a.m., it’s you.

Even with movers, the friends packed up the car and made four trips a day for a month. You’d think four trips a day would make a dent but no matter how big a dent you think you’re making, come moving day, it seems like the mountain you moved, moved back home.

“Moved home” because stuff is divided into two categories: The stuff you see and the stuff you don’t see because if you saw it all, your brain would explode and your will would crumble. Better to pretend that you don’t have 10 25-gallon pots on the patio filled with dirt and a variety of dwarf citrus trees. Just because they’re dwarfs, doesn’t mean they don’t weigh a ton.

“One of the movers asked if we could empty the pots,” she said.

Not a bad idea except that you might send the trees into moving shock and one move becomes three: dwarf lime trees, soil and pots.

Division is out the window with a move. Everything is multiplication or squaring, the volume is usually double or triple one’s inventory expectation.

***

Moving day is like the apocalypse. It starts early, goes way longer than you expect and you don’t smell your best by the end of it. By 7, you need a shower and you just took a shower, by 9 a Jacuzzi and by 11 a beer except you can’t have one because one would lead to two and two to dropping the microwave on your foot.

At the end of the day when you think you’re done, you’re not done because you suddenly remember the last few boxes in the garage, the junk drawer in the kitchen you forgot to empty and goodness knows you can’t leave a dirty house for the next person because then you will go to moving hell after you’re done shuffling from one house to the other.

We had dinner with our friends that night. They were exhausted. They were moving-stunned. I wouldn’t have bet on them the next day. They could be sore for weeks.

***

As it was, they drove by the following day and they were smiling. Why are you smiling? Did you not move yesterday?

They had but hadn’t moved a washer and dryer because they’d left those behind.

“We just went to Cruz's Appliances and bought a washer and a dryer. The whole thing took 90 seconds. They’re going to deliver and hook them up,” she said.

That’s a move, a good move and the kind of move we’re looking for.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.