Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What's in Your Closet?

When I lived in Montreal (IMHO, one of the best cities in the world to live in. Maybe not one of the most beautiful cities to see, but definitely one of the best to live in), the week or so before and after July 1st were the most intense and nerve-rattling days of the year. July 1st was Moving Day. The balance of Canada recognizes this day as Canada Day. Leave it to Quebec to point their nose in a different direction. The majority of rental lease expired on June 30th, so early the next morning, moving vans were out in force, jockeying for parking spaces. Insurance companies dreaded this day as did the police who inevitably went through pads of traffic tickets writing up double and triple parked moving vans, fender-benders, and, uhmmm, intense conversations resulting in shiners and bloody noses. The moving companies were not restricted from jacking up their prices at this time, a fine example of the Supply & Demand principle of economics. Not wanting to break the rules of Supply/Demand, they would promptly triple or even quadruple their regular fees. And then, a week later, take 2-3 weeks off, living phat off the fat.

Memories of those days came back to me as I was driving around our neighborhood. A slew of single women living independently were getting married (independent of each other) and moving out. All, it seemed, on the same day. U-Hauls and private moving contractors were pulled up on sidewalks and on previously well-manicured lawns. It was a beautiful and crisp Fall day. Ramps and planks and jacks were positioned, ready for quick loading. Possessions were strewn about, while the packers were devising the jigsaw plans of how to fit 300 cubic feet of stuff into a 250 cubic foot truck. I slowed down as I drove past each deployment, a voyeur de choses de vie.
"Hmm, they had that color chair in the same room with that color sofa?"
"???, No they wouldn't have matched up those endtables with THAT bed!!"
"They don't manufacture that floor to ceiling aluminum coned light set any more, do they?"
"They could not be using those utensils for their cooking?!"

It was eye-opening and all too revelatory. It was a pornography of possessions. Out buck-naked in public, no strong windowless entrance door barring strangers' eyes, these folks' daily lives were picked apart by myself and other neighbors also driving slowly behind me. We were four-wheeled vultures, totally lacking in charm or graces. Why some of the Moved didn't squirt us with their water hoses or throw their Ikea-ware at us only indicated they were too consumed in their hasty logistics. That or they had class, which we 5-mile-an-hours obviously did not.

I've already planned our move, whenever that is in the distant future.
Middle of the night.
Moon-less sky, preferably a light sprinkling of rain to cut down the number of eyes poking through the neighbor's venetian blinds.
All items boxed or wrapped in paint tarps, revealling perhaps the shape but not the color scheme of things.

I'll be packing a rifle, ready to shoot out any Kleig lights turned on to blaze on our worldly possessions in their intimate state of decay.

And someone will be sure to report you to Vampires Anonymous.

Casket moving under cover of night is never as stealthy a manuever as a bloodsucker might expect, especially with the latest reincarnation of Carl Kolchak.

Just ask past residents of the Marsten house in Salem. They hang around a lot after sunset...
I attended a friend's wedding on "Moving Day" in Montreal. It seemed even the city's cab drivers were part of the conspiracy, staying out of sight when you needed them most. Either their drivers were also moving, or they were laying low until the madness (and traffic congestion) had ebbed back to whatever passes for normal in that city.
But why did you move, if you liked the place so much.
WP, you mean the bride and groom hadn't hired a moving van that day to move the wedding party around the city? Guess they had a different theme for their wedding.

Stephenesque: Sigh... If circumstances, at the time, were different, I'd still be there. Unfortunately (the short version), being an American citizen in Quebec working for a Canadian company in an economic situation where unemployment was over 15% made by job situation untenable. The only option was to work in Montreal and live in Plattsburgh. And if you've ever been in Plattsburgh, you'd know why that option was not palatable. I love cold weather and winters and Montreal had that and so much, much more. At the time, I thought this would be a temporary setback, but you know how life intrudes on your plans. I wish things had turned out different, but that's the way it goes.
You Freak! You shoulda freakin' stayed.
A very moving post.
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