Picture this: I'm 22. I'm in my first-ever "grown up and single" apartment in Vancouver. I am surrounded by the overwhelming IKEA packing detritus from one futon, four side tables, a small dining set, a desk, a dresser, a bookcase, a TV stand, and assorted sets of plates, glasses, pots, pans, knives and cutlery, bedding, towels, and a shit load of other stuff I can't remember. (I had nothing. I needed everything. And I bought that everything at IKEA and had it all delivered on one day.) That's how much crap there is around me.

So, I'm sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor, surrounded by the already scratched and dented framing of the bed I've now put together incorrectly twice (first, thinking it was upside down, I had to take it all apart and rebuild it right side up... only, having done that, I realized that I'd actually built it correctly the first time). Yay.

I have instructions, of course. The instructions look like this:
These instructions mean: Don't do this alone. You NEED HELP. Get a friend to help you! These instructions also mean: If you don't understand what to do, call IKEA.

Only, I don't have a friend. I do have an idiot boyfriend, but he's nowhere to be found. And I can't call IKEA for help because my cell phone battery is dead and the charger is lost amid all the moving boxes and aforementioned IKEA detritus. 

So I'm sitting on the floor of my sad little Jr. One Bedroom apartment, in the centre of what was supposed to be my perfect (albeit small) new bedroom, and I'm cradling my right hand, which is bruised green from 48 straight hours of turning reluctant allen keys ... and I'm crying. Mouth open, nose running, full-on crying.

I am crying for many reasons. I am crying because I don't think I can stand to take apart and rebuild my bed for a third time (why, God, why?). And I'm crying because my hand hurts like a mother fucker. And most of all, I'm crying because it seems entirely possible that I will not only NOT have a bed to sleep in tonight, but that I may never sleep in a bed again. I may, in fact, die from some sort of allen-key induced gangrene and the IKEA cardboard will absorb the smell of my rotting corpse, and no one will find me until I default on my rent, which may well happen, even if I DON'T die, because I spent every penny I had outfitting my apartment for my wonderful new life, which has so far consisted of nothing but moving-related trauma.

This is what happens when you try to move alone.

But this weekend, I helped my friend Emily move. And it was no big deal. I was one of many friends she had helping her out, and all in all, everything went smoothly. It wasn't particularly hard. It wasn't annoying. It didn't put me out. I had the time, I needed the exercise, and other than the part where I had to wake up at 8 am on a Saturday, it was pretty fun. Not unlike a social event, except with a practical, measurable purpose.

Moving is often cited as one of the absolute most stressful things in life. Right up there with divorce and being fired. But if you're not the person who's actually moving, if you're just helping out, it's really not stressful at all. Not comparably. And that's why you should do it. Because it's no big deal for the helper, but probably a VERY big deal for the helpee. I've been both, so I know this for sure.

Alone? Bad.
Together? Good.
It's pretty simple, actually.


05/28/2012 20:43

Love this story, despite the sadness of your moving solitude. Thank goodness I've never had to move alone, and I hope it never happens in the future!


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