A friend and his wife loaded their stuff into a big U-Haul some days ago—and I was their somewhat willing accomplice.
They were moving to southern California. Some people think a move from this part of the world to that part is sort of like trading a gentle scalp massage for a whack on the head with a garden rake. That seems unfair. A small shovel should do the job.
The good news is that the loading of the furniture, appliances, clothing etc. went really well . Nothing got broken, scuffed, soiled, defaced, warped, squashed or wrinkled. Nobody either.
Sure, a world of horrors could await when that couple finally rolls that U-Haul door open again a thousand miles from now. But by then, I am not responsible. Like they say in the TV transmission business: “Everything looked fine when it left this end.”
They also say that in the meat grinding business.
Everyday in this country, there are thousands of such moves—where good friends are helped by better friends to load or unload their worldly goods. It can also be one of the most harrowing tests of any friendship. In fact, statistics show that moving is one of the most stressful of life experiences—right behind divorce, losing a job and getting a bikini wax. And the same holds true for women.
As I watched my friends pull out of the driveway—heading off on their “Adventure in Moving”, I heard a mournful cat-like wail coming from the truck cab. Turns out it was coming from a mournful cat—theirs—complaining at the top of its lungs from within its carrier: “ME-OW! ME-OW! ME-OW!” In cat language that translates to: “Let ME-OUT! ME-OUT! ME-OUT!”
But the cat’s owners knew the screeching was just temporary and the feline would quiet down by Redding.
Since I have helped dozens of friends with their moves over the years—and been the recipient of such kindness on other occasions, let me pass along a few basic, hard-learned tips:
Sometimes, people wishing to cajole their friends into helping them move will say: “We’ll supply plenty of beer.” Big mistake. The last thing you need is a staggering, beer-soaked guy carrying a box of your best crystal up or down a wobbly van ramp. In other words, the beer shouldn’t be offered at the starting gate. Save it for the finish line.
If you are helping friends move, never, ever make a negative comment about any of their possessions. You will only hurt their feelings. No matter what you may privately think, say only nice things out loud:
“A bean-bag chair like this never goes out of style, Bert.”
Or, “I can’t believe this isn’t an actual Red Skelton clown painting—-it looks that
And, “This sure a nice shrunken head collection, Carl.”
After an object has been placed into the moving van, NEVER say: “Well, that baby (object) isn’t going anywhere (is securely in place).” That remark is a guarantee that not only WILL that baby go somewhere—but also will probably fall over and break three other babies as soon as the van pulls out.
Put the things you will want to get at FIRST (upon arrival at the final destination)—into the van LAST. In other words: Your TV set, telephones, dishware and clean underwear.
As my friends rolled out the driveway for the final time, I handed them a bottle of Evian. “You’re going to need this badly in southern California right now,” I said. “Save some for your lawn too.”
I got a call yesterday. Those poor schlubs have been traveling for three days. They’re doing just fine, but aren’t making very good time. Apparently the woman voice on Google Maps has been fooling with them. That’s why they’re just outside of Vancouver. B.C.
At their current pace, they figure to make their destination sometime in mid-August.
And that cat’s going to need a throat lozenge in the worst way.