This story in The Washington Post could have used some editing, but it contained a few items that resonated with me. Skip through the author’s personal anecdotes about moving and find the nuggets.
The headline (“Moving is the worst. It’s also transformative.”) is weird because moving ISN’T the worst. Lots of things are worse than packing up everything and taking it across the country. Diarrhea, for example, is worse than moving. And for me, not moving is worse than moving. Staying in one place, especially a place that’s stifling, uninspiring, drab — whatever — is hurtful to the self. Leaving that place is freeing, empowering.
This part was true for me. I’ve already mentioned how many things I had to get rid of — not only because they wouldn’t fit in my new place or because they wouldn’t fit in my Uhaul trailer, but because they simply weren’t important enough to go through the trouble of packing them up and then unpacking them at the other end. Sitting in my mobile home in Harker Heights, Texas, I had a hard time determining which things were important to me. But bringing home the moving trailer meant I had to decide, and quick. I already don’t miss anything I got rid of.
Yes. I like the idea of whittling even more, but I think I’m down to the bare necessities now.
But the whole column was about stuff and didn’t really live up to the title’s “transformative” part. Yes, it’s nice to get rid of the stuff, but what’s even nicer is feeling oneself becoming a slightly different person. Hopefully a better person.
Also, I moved because I was becoming a different person, a person who could no longer love my home state and no longer put up with its shenanigans. This state has its own shenanigans, of course, like the measles outbreak that’s recently spread across the Columbia River — due to a crazily low local vaccination rates. But they’re a whole new kind of shenanigan.
So far, I feel kind of like I’m living in a movie, though I assume I’m a background character. And I don’t even know what kind of movie the main characters are experiencing; maybe it’s a police drama or a romantic comedy. And I’m just the guy walking up the stairs in the background, or the guy sitting in the coffee shop in the background with his laptop, or the guy panting as he walks more than he’s used to. I never felt like this in Harker Heights, because movies don’t have scenes that look like my life there. Movies have scenes that look like THIS.
Anyway. That’s all I’ve got for today.
Not so fast! I just remembered I read two interesting short science fiction pieces this weekend, both by Wil C. Fry, who’s not a professional writer but has some fun ideas. Verbo Virtutis is his latest, about a detective trying to solve a crime that clearly breaks the laws of physics. But the one I liked even more was Compelled. Each took me 15 minutes or less to read; both left me with a good feeling.