Moving thoughts

Being a nomad for several years, moving in and out of dorm rooms, my parents’ home and apartments, I have finally come to rest, not moving once this summer. That sedentary state has allowed me to enjoy something I have not been able to enjoy before: the spectacle of people moving.

Now I’m not sure whether the moving spectacle is a comedy or a drama. But I know from personal experience it can be a horror show for those involved ‘ either that or a comedy of errors.

My worst mistake in moving was not having a moving truck on the day I needed to move, and I felt lucky when I was able to find a U-Haul in Martinsville ‘ it was about three times the size of what I needed and much more expensive because I had forgotten to make a reservation. All of this occurred on a day when the temperature soared past 107 degrees, not counting the heat index.

But this seems mild compared to a problem I had not previously been aware of, although I could have fallen into this trap: temporary homelessness. This occurs when somebody’s lease expires before his or her next lease begins. This might be one of the worst possible things to happen to somebody, as they are compelled to find someplace to store all their stuff, and that’s often not easy.

It becomes a question of how many friends you are willing to impose upon, and how much free space your friends have to store your stuff. It’s doubtful a friend will be able to store an entire living room set, but they will find space for that 25-inch television. You also have to be careful that you keep your clothing together, because there is nothing worse than having taking a shower at Susan’s place, finding your pants, but discovering you left your underwear at John’s apartment, five blocks away.

So you resort to a suitcase with your clothing and a storage unit for your furniture, which really isn’t that bad a deal … or is it? At one storage company here in town, the smallest space goes for $25 a month, with a $15 nonrefundable processing fee. That’s pretty pricey for two days, and you can’t rent for less than a month.

Clearly there is a winner in this game: the companies that own storage units ‘ they must make a huge profit in August, the month when most of these temporary homelessness situations occur.

The dorm room experience is also interesting to watch and less exasperating for me because I no longer drive to work. There is nothing quite like watching an incoming dorm resident, especially a freshman whose parents don’t really want to see their offspring leave the nest. Upon arrival into town, 10th Street becomes unbelievably clogged with cars as traffic crawls to a complete halt. This is probably the one day a year that campus has a legitimate traffic nightmare.

I realize it’s not amusing for the people involved and that it is quite stressful, but I remember the first time I moved into a dorm room: The elevators were rickety and I brought too much crap. Of course, not everybody at IU has the benefits of an elevator; a lot of people at IU have to haul their stuff up the stairs, one large object at a time. It’s moments like these that you suddenly appreciate the 13-inch television and the beanbag chair your friends brought instead of that 35-inch television and EZ-Boy recliner you brought.

Of course, the whole scenario starts up again next May when people move out of the dorms and apartments. What I constantly find amazing is how much more stuff I can acquire in a year and what took one trip to move this summer will take Mom and Dad two trips the next. I hope I will be on the sidelines yet again.

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