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My Own or On Loan?

Inside the Great Mystery that is, 

we don’t really own anything.

What is this competition we feel then,

before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?

 

─Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

 

Flickering Joys

Here's how it works: It's after sunset but before full dark and you're in your 18-wheeler (truck drivers call them "big trucks" or "large cars") driving in the slow lane of any section of four-lane insterstate that perfuses this surprisingly empty country of ours. Your marker lights are on, 100-plus amber lights lining the top and bottom edges of your trailer, so that when you look in your rear-view mirrors, you feel a low-grade cheerfulness well up at the sight of all that light and color, as if a little bit of Christmas were trailing behind you on tandem axles.

One Summer Road trip

I've been on the road in the tractor trailer for the past week: Iowa City to Boonton, NJ where I carried a brand new Iowa law graduate's stuff down into her parent's basement; to Brooklyn, NY, where I delivered a poet to a warehouse with a view overlooking both the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan; to Wilmington, MA where I unloaded a hospital administrator's things into a warehouse with a view of nothing; to Kittery, ME, where I delivered an orthopedics researcher and his wife to their retirement home in the woods.

Work Works on

Each spring in preparation for our busy season we hire a new group of employees and train them to be household movers. And each spring those trainees remind me of the fact that the work we do as household movers changes us, turns us into slightly different people than we would have been had we never carried washing machines and old mattresses and priceless antiques up narrow stairways for one or three or ten hot summers. 

What it means to serve

When Mark handed Admantine Spine over to me 11 years ago, I was just finishing up grad school for writing. What that meant in practical terms was that I had a world-class education in reading and writing personal essays (not the most marketable skill), no money, serious debt, and no job.

A Mover on the Couch

About 6 or 7 years ago I was listening to a late-night call-in show about sex called "Love Line" with Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew. If you've never listened, the show was about as bad as it sounds except for this: Adam Carolla seemed mostly intent on making fun of the people who called in (most of whom didn't have sex problems per se, but relationship problems), while Dr. Drew showed some compassion for the callers and tried his best to help.

The Humble Pallet

Moving's a lot of work. You know that, of course, and that's why you're on a mover's website looking to hire someone else to do at least some of that work for you. Part of the reason it's a lot of work, though, is that you can't take advantage of one of the single biggest advances in modern transportation: the humble pallet.

Fatal Attachments

At first glance, moving might not seem that complicated. As Bill likes to say, "You put the stuff in a box, you put the box on a truck, you drive the truck to the new place, you take the box off the truck." Not much to it. 

So why, when the truck is loaded up and full of boxes do people often say, "Be careful -- you've got our whole lives in there!" ("We've got all your possessions," I sometimes tease, "but you wouldn't let us pack your souls.")