My older brother Chris taught me how to drive when I was fourteen years old. We were supposed to be at church, but instead I was grinding the gears of my mom's little brown Honda station wagon on the winding back roads of Glastonbury, Connecticut, Chris riding shotgun beside me, a mostly distant but unflappable tutor.
Several years ago, before the housing market crash and the great recession, we had a full-time manager and sales person working with us. Tony's a great guy: likable, funny, sincere, hard working - the kind of guy who can make your day better simply by being in it. When the crash came, people weren't moving much anymore, so he left the Spine and got a job as a car salesman. And he became a really great salesman, at least from what I could tell from the conversations we had whenever we'd get together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.