Wednesday, March 28, 2007

take or toss

My room--the spare room in my parents' house--which has been my home for almost a year now needs to be packed up and somehow shoved into my tiny car for a four-day drive. Since the physics of this don't work out, I'm forced to do some streamlining. I moved down here with only what I could fit inside my car and still leave room for Murphy and me. I'd like to streamline even more and let Murphy actually have the entire backseat this time, rather than just half of it (a box of books and my violin were on the other half, along with bags of clothes accross the floor on both sides). And of course, as I've explained before, most of my larger belongings are in storage in St. Louis. They're staying there for now.

Today was my last off day at Starbucks. Starting tomorrow, I work straight through to Friday the 6th, which is my last day there. I don't leave town til the following Monday, which means I have that weekend to also get ready, but I'm pretty sure I'll also be doing a lot of running around saying goodbye to people that weekend. would think I was smart enough to spend today wisely, to get at least half the shit in my room here organized, sorted into piles of "keep" versus piles of "toss."

What did I really do?

I slept late. Took a nap on the couch with the dogs. Watched an hour of 101 Favorite Stars Way Back When, on E (and learned that Morgan Freeman used to be on The Electric Company). Had a sandwich for lunch. Walked the dogs. Talked to Kathy on the phone as she drove frantically through rush hour traffic to arrive late for a haircut. That's about it.

So here I sit in my room, which is still overflowing with the small collection of belongings I moved here with, plus all the stuff I've accumulated over the past year. When I do get around to sorting and packing, I'm going to employ the 'If-I-haven't-used-it-in-the-past-two-weeks-then-I-don't-need-it' approach and be merciless in getting rid of stuff. I tend to be a packrat as it is, so this type of cleansing is good for me on occasion; it forces me to let go of useless crap that in my mind has been built up as sentimental or potentially reusable. Instead all my crap just takes up a lot of room and creates clutter, something I hate. Strangely, I'm both a packrat and one who hates clutter. And my room is messy. None of this adds up, and I think it's the packrat part of my personality that must change its ways.

I've had a headache for about a week now, and I can only imagine it's a combination of changing weather and stress. As excited as I am about this move, it's a major decision and a huge task, and because of this every moment of my life right now is consumed by the various details. When I'm at work, I'm actually just thinking about my new job. When I'm at home, I'm going over my route and double checking my hotel reservations along the way...again and again. And again. And when I'm asleep, I'm dreaming that something is wrong with my car or that I'm missing some other detail to the move itself. Or worse yet, that I'll get there and be miserable, which I know won't happen, but fear of the unknown still haunts me. I'm so tired right now, just from making these plans. Part of me is nervous about getting on the road, but for the most part, I can't wait to get on the highway and just get going on this move.

I always have a copy of Rand McNally's road atlas, though I'm partial to a particular one. It's the notebook-sized spiral-bound that is revised each year. Because of my own obsessive-compulsive ways, it has to be this specific atlas, and when it gets too old and used up to read anymore, I replace it with the latest edition of the same atlas. This is for two reasons: 1) I'm a geek who loves maps. I've been known to stare at a map for hours. 2) I love to travel and I especially like road trips, so a good atlas is always necessary. This atlas is the perfect size for flipping through in the car, and it fits into my backpack. Various editions of this atlas have accompanied me since college, and of course while planning this move, my current copy has been next to me the whole time. While staring at my route for the millionth time the other night, my eyes traced the highway up through Oklahoma City, which is one of my overnight stops and which is also where the spiral of the book is located. The spine of this atlas cuts the state of Oklahoma--as well as Kansas, Texas, and a few others--right in half. So I folded the book back and flipped it over so I was only seeing the western half of the country. That's when I realized that for the first time ever, I'd be living west of the spiral, the left side of the country's two-page spread in my atlas.

Obviously, I knew before then that I was moving west, but seeing it in terms of my little atlas for some reason jolted me a bit. At once, I smiled and felt giddy, while my headache tightened a little more. This dichotomy of emotions right now is exhausting and yet propels me forward with this move; the excitement inspires me and my nerves keep me alert.

In the meantime, I can't go anywhere until I get this room organized and packed, which is what I should be doing now, instead of rambling here.


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