Monday, February 27, 2012

A Comfortable Sense of Anonymity

     I've spent the last three days in transit from Rome to Atlanta, GA, and my feet are killing me! I actually have a blister on the side of the ball of my right foot, which I'm guessing my sneakers rubbed, going up and down a flight of 21 stairs at our old place at least a thousand times in the last 72 hours. Spartacus and I packed and unloaded two 17 foot trucks ourselves. The first truck, which we packed on Thursday night, contained all of our boxed stuff, from medical books to dinnerware to the routers and switches Spartacus uses for his IT network troubleshooting. It also housed the infamous red futon sofa, which was responsible for the only cross words Spartacus and I exchanged this entire weekend.
     Aside from being about a hundred pounds of dead weight, the three back sections of this sofa are adjustable, so that one can recline at various angles or lie completely flat. Once flattened, it is roughly the size of a queen size bed. The first problem was maneuvering this unwieldy piece of furniture through the back door. Our truck was parked out back, in front of this door, because all of the furniture Spartacus and I needed to move was located in the downstairs apartment. The standard-sized door opening would not easily permit such a wide couch to pass through. Neither of us could remember how the guy who delivered it several months ago had gotten it in. Because it was a brand-new piece of furniture, I was worried about soiling the bright red fabric, so we shrouded it up with blankets first. Then, we proceeded with our initial attempt to transport it through the door.
     The sofa was so heavy, I could barely lift my end, not to mention the fact that there was literally nothing I could grab onto, other than cushion. After numerous unsuccessful tries with the couch in various angled configurations, I suggested it might work better if we flattened it out. This presented another problem because every time we tried to pick it up, the three back cushions immediately flopped back into their reclined positions. Every time we'd try lifting it, Spartacus and I seemed to oppose one other, resulting in a completely negative work effort. Exasperated, I exclaimed, "We are not communicating!" Spartacus disagreed, "No, we're communicating just fine. We just need to move the futon upright so we can get it through the door." Well, duh! I reminded him that I was the one who'd come up with the idea of flattening the sofa in the first place, prompting him to admonish, "Don't be a smart ass!" This shut both of us up temporarily. I thought to myself, "Oh no...is this how the rest of our night's gonna go?"
     With an uncomfortable silence between us, we got back to work, flipping the sofa so that the movable back pieces were now brushing the floor, with the thought that we'd be better able to lift it from the seat's base. For me, it was still prohibitively heavy. At this point, I had tears in my eyes because I was so frustrated, and I told Spartacus, "This is the only time in life I wish I had a penis! I just don't have the physical strength to pick this thing up! We need someone else to come and help us!" Spartacus devised a solution. We'd flip the futon so the seat base rested on a furniture dolly, and we'd brace the moving back cushions to prevent them from folding as we rolled it upright through the door. This was still a pain in the ass, but it worked, and we finally got the couch loaded. We still had a night's worth of work ahead of us to get this truck loaded and ready for our move the following day. Spartacus and I looked at each other and apologized for snapping, acknowledging that we were tired, hungry, and stressed. This quickly alleviated the awkwardness we'd both been feeling for the last 30 minutes. The cumbersome red futon became an "inside joke" for the rest of our move. I am happy to report that this move ended up being rather light-hearted, with plentiful laughter to offset the pain of our aching 50 year old joints.
     We didn't leave Rome on Friday until almost 3 pm. This put us squarely in the midst of Atlanta afternoon traffic, a joy and pleasure I'll now become reacquainted with. Our movers were already waiting for us at our new place. Neither Spartacus nor I had seen our loft since its brick-red walls had been painted white, and when I opened the door and saw it for the first time, it took my breath away. The space now looked huge and inviting, highlighting the cool grey concrete floors, the exposed ductwork, and the mile-high ceilings. I still can't believe how quickly the moving guys brought all of our furniture in. Spartacus had gotten stuck in traffic while driving our truck, so I directed the movers in positioning the furniture while I waited for him to arrive. All of our furniture made it without a scratch, and the only missing item was a shelf pin for our office credenza. That's an easy fix.
     Spartacus and I unloaded our truck, backing its ramp right up to our rear entrance. This made it really easy to carry all of our boxes directly into the loft from the truck, saving lots of extra footwork by avoiding the front door. It took us about 3 hours to finish unloading. This time around, we knew how to best manipulate the red futon, so it wasn't such a big ordeal. Famished and exhausted after nearly 24 hours of non-stop lifting, as well as repeatedly negotiating the long stairwell at our old place, we felt we had solidly earned a late-night dinner. Although the restaurants in our urban neighborhood are only a couple of blocks away, we were too tired to walk. We drove down to Kirkwood's main drag, and found every restaurant and bar hopping, alive with people who were enthusiastically chatting at their candlelit tables. It felt good to be back in a big city, exciting and ripe with possibility. We walked into The Pullman, sat down at the bar, ordered a couple of Guinness draughts, and began to relax. No one here has any idea who we are, what we do, or where we came from, restoring the comfortable sense of anonymity we've sorely missed living in a small town for the last ten months. We are free to start again, to be whoever we want to be. After thoroughly enjoying our dinner, we collapsed into bed, worn out but refreshed, happy to be home, relieved to be back in a place where everybody is a nobody, even those who are pretty sure they're "somebody."

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