Friend and military wife Liz pointed to moving as her writing prompt of choice. She’s soon off to Colorado from Dover, and in the midst of the massive pack-up.
Back in 1992, after a semi-failed attempt at graduate school, I found myself moving for the 3rd time in 12 months. Craig and I were renting a professor’s desperately-in-need-of-a-spiff-up house and, exhausted from the packing, taping, wrapping, sorting, and general mourning involved with the move, we decided to take a movie break. Sorting through the prof’s VHS collection, we chose an early Mel Gibson pic—a little feel-good movie called Gallipoli.
If you’ve never seen it, Gallipoli, besides being fun to say, is Peter Weir’s not-necessarily-so-historically-accurate account of the historic World War I era battle between Turkish and Australian/British forces. The story, in short, is this: Mel Gibson makes a friend, Mel Gibson and friend go to war, Mel Gibson fails to get vital message to the front line in time, leading his friend and countless countrymen to be mowed down in a merciless hail of gunfire.
Needless to say, it was the worst possible movie choice of all time for two people whose unemployment and academic overwhelmedness had sprayed a big, giant firehose of hopelessness on their otherwise sunny prospects. Looking back now, the fate of the poor Australians should have made our situation sparkle in comparison. But, being the “glass is not just half empty, it’s dirty, cracked, and probably loaded with stomach-churning bacteria” kind of person that I was, I took the movie as a metaphor for my own angst-ridden existence.
Moving—touching every item of my own “stuff,” making decisions about what to keep and what to toss, mourning the “here,” fearing the “there,” experiencing the crunch of the ticking, ticking clock—it’s not at all my favorite thing to do. For me, it’s one of those barren experiences that needs to be managed to be endured. It needs a soundtrack, a cinemascape, a tasting menu, a recreational program just to be bearable.
I think that if I were in the same situation again, I’d make some light and ridiculous viewing choice to counterbalance my own inner drama queen: PeeWee’s Big Adventure, The Jerk, Shaun of the Dead, repeating loops of SNL’s Blue Oyster Cult cowbell sketch, even Jerry Lewis in The Disorderly Orderly. Heck, I’d even watch the Time/Collection of the ’70s infomercial. They’re mindless and pointless, and when you’re emotionally raw and kind of mentally exhausted, they’re guaranteed to leave you on the floor grasping for your inhaler.
As long as you haven’t packed it, you’ll be all set.