It turns out that moving is kind of a fun subject to talk about. Since reminiscing earlier in the week about the craziness of moving, I've remembered a couple other anecdotes of moving madness. For the sake of brevity, I share just one more.
I remember arriving alone in the Washington D.C. area in July of 2005 with a U-Haul full of everything my small family owned, towing a trailer with a stupid Buick on it. A friend living back in Provo had given me his mom and dad's address. That was the extent of my East Coast connections. Despite it being the Fourth of July, the dad and my friend's little brother helped me dump all my stuff in a storage shed. It was 90 degrees with high humidity. I had a lot of nerve asking for help in weather like that, on a holiday like that, but I didn't know what else to do. This is the theme of this post: when you have no other options, you will guilt people into helping you move your things, no matter how much it makes them hate you.
|Hating me behind their pleasant facades for forcing them to help me move.|
Orientation for my new job began about a week later. I happened to sit next to a guy who looked just a little too clean-cut, just a little too squeaky clean, just a little too happy. "Are you a Mormon?" I asked, not three minutes after meeting him. Surprised, he smiled and answered, "Why, yes!" I didn't think, I just pressed forward. "Oh, good," I said. "Listen, I need help moving my stuff from a storage shed into my new apartment." There was no way out for this guy. I had him in a moral full-nelson. When you're Mormon, you have to help people move if they ask. There's no other option. If you refuse, you become an angel of Satan.
But one guy wasn't enough. I had a lot of stuff, and it was hot. The next Sunday I attended what would become my new congregation. When all the 20- and 30-something men met together during the last hour, and I was asked to introduce myself, I didn't pause to consider what an awful first impression I was about to make. "I'm Abu Halen," I said. "I'm moving into the ward on Tuesday, and I need help with it. Can anyone help on Tuesday?" Eyes that had been friendly and kind were suddenly downcast. A couple guys mumbled something about "work" or "multiple sclerosis," but a pair of brothers -- the Bunkers (they deserve to be called out for such a daring good deed) -- volunteered.
The next Tuesday the happy guy from work met me down at the U-Haul rental place. He looked decidedly less happy than before, but I didn't have time care. I'd rented for three hours the biggest U-Haul imaginable, reasoning that I could haphazardly chuck everything in there without carefully trying to fit it in a smaller truck. I'd save time. So me and Happy Guy jumped in the truck, which I didn't know how to drive. Turns out big, huge, 30-foot stick shift trucks are hard to operate. I killed it half a dozen times trying to get out of the parking lot. Happy Guy looked worried. I also looked worried. I prayed. "God," I said, "I can't drive this truck. Can you do like the Matrix and learn me this truck in like 15 seconds?" That did the trick, and we had everything out of the shed within the hour.
This last part is the most embarrassing. We met the Bunker Brothers at my apartment and commenced to feverishly unloading. At this point it occurred to me that I had not actually eaten all day, owing to stress, distractedness, and raw stupidity. Within a half hour my head was swimming and my knees were wobbling. I dropped a few boxes, tripped over some others. Happy Guy and the Bunker Brothers made me sit down with a huge glass of water.
I never intended to be sitting, sipping water, watching three almost total strangers move all my things into my apartment while they sweated profusely, hating me behind their pleasant, helpful smiles. I simply and shamelessly took advantage of serendipitous meetings with Mormon guys who are unable to say no to direct requests to help move people. That's all I did. Don't think less of Abu Halen because he's an opportunist.
And, as a bonus, one-sentence moving anecdote: in 2009 I helped my parents pack up their U-Haul in Portland, Oregon on the hottest day in Portland... ever. It was 112. I guess that was two sentences. What can I say -- give me an inch and I'll take a mile.