Thursday, August 30, 2012

Imagine No Possessions

My apartment looks like a war zone. It's so horrific. Like, if they brought a camera in and filmed it, the news would have to edit the footage before airing it on television.

It has been said that every person who has walked into my apartment this week has had to start taking Prozac to continue functioning.

Strangers, I'm in a battle with my things. So far, everyone is a casualty.

I got a stack of boxes, placed them in the center of the front room, and started carefully sifting through each of my items. During the course of this organizing and packing process, I went through all of the stages of grief in a never-ending loop.

I hate moving.

Part of the problem is that every time I start packing things, I feel this incessant need to carefully examine every object. Which then brings back a memory. Which then causes an emotion. Which then results in me eating a tub of ice-cream all by myself. Crying.

First I found folder after folder of assignments from every undergrad class I ever took.

I then stumbled upon a stack of journals. And, well, there went that entire evening.

Eventually I stopped trying to organize anything and instead just started dumping buckets of broken glass, jagged edged pieces of paper, and tattered clothes into the moving boxes.

Those items have survived so many moves now. They owe a huge thanks to my laziness. They should have to bake cookies and give them to my laziness.

The first time I moved away to college, everything I owned fit in a tiny car. The next time, slightly less roomy, but still--one car load.

Then a few years went by and guys, I really don't know what happened. I think the movers from the tv show Hoarders accidentally brought the stuff they meant to throw away and started storing it in my closets.

And believe me, I would call Hoarders and try to get on the show, but I don't think they would take me. The people they usually have on are all "hoarders" because of complex psychological problems or an over-attachment to otherwise meaningless objects. That's not really my problem. I am attached only to the following items:

1. My Snuggie

2. Paul Cyclemon

3. This tub of cookies and cream ice-cream in the freezer

4. Cathie's roll-top desk from her college days, which she tried to throw away a couple of years ago when I chained myself to it and called her a "murderer of memories"

5. Larry

Everything else can get pooped on and then eaten by the Queen of Colors for all I care. I have so much crap, then, not because of attachment, but because of laziness.

So night after night this week, I have gone to battle against these wretched things that have filled my closets and my life. And I do not understand how this is possible, but I swear to you, the more I pack away, the more there is still left to pack.

Let that sink in. When I pack something, multiple other somethings spring forth needing to be packed.

I know that probably doesn't coincide with our basic understanding of the laws of the universe. But it's true. I have seen it happen with my own eyes. There is more stuff in my apartment right now than there was before I started moving out, even though I haven't brought anything new in.

I just googled it and found a calculus equation that explains how this is possible:

x = {q + [q2 + (r-p2)3]1/2}1/3 + {q - [q2 + (r-p2)3]1/2}1/3 + p

See. It's true. When you start moving, your stuff multiplies.

And you doubted me.

This has led me only to one plausible solution: stop packing.

I know what you're thinking. "But Eli! If you stop packing, how will you ever get moved to Palau?! Also, have you been working out? Wink wink, giggle."

First of all, no. I really haven't.

But second, here's the thing. I don't need these things, right? We just established that I'm largely unattached to any of them. I'm basically exactly like John Lennon when he sang about "Imagine no possessions." Except I do fewer drugs and shower sometimes.

So here are the current options:

1. Leave everything in the apartment, after defacing photographs, and claim the items were there when I moved in.

2. Burn the entire apartment complex to the ground (after sounding a warning, of course).

3. Call 911 and tell them a murder happened in my apartment and all of the items in it are covered in DNA.

4. Witness protection program.

Right now the fire option seems like the least amount of effort.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Secret option #5. Sell it. You may have crazy followers who would love a defaced photo once owned by you.

  2. I am in this exact same situation. Except I'm not moving to Palau. I'm moving to the next city over, and the total distance is less than two miles. Although the city I'm moving to is probably less industrialized than Palau.

    I think burning it all is a good option. Plus my renter's insurance will buy me all new stuff.

    Of course, if my insurance agent happens to read this comment, then the fire was a total accident and I have NO IDEA how it happened...

  3. Think about how bad it would be if you had kids . . .

  4. Packing is my own personal hell. For reals. Last week, my roommate (whose mortgage I help pay) had the carpets cleaned. Which means I had to pack up and move everything that was touching the floor. It took me to a very dark place, Eli. Now we have clean carpets (wahoo?) and I'm still in the process of UNpacking. And reorganizing. I agree that your stuff must multiply (like RABBITS!) once packing begins! Dangit!

  5. Holy Queen of Colors, story of my life.

  6. It is in the UNpacking that you purge and sort. Take that pledge. Set the microwave timer and just stuff the boxes, have Daniel tape the boxes. When buzzer rings, switch to Daniel filling boxes and you taping. Haul them to the storage center. Then: Celebrate your freedom.

  7. I house-sat for my uncle and his family while he worked out of the country for a year. He only had one request as he left and it was this: "If the house catches fire, make sure it doesn't get extinguished before it burns up the boxes of our stuff we're leaving in the basement. If the house catches fire and I still have to dig through that junk, I'm going to be disappointed."

  8. Your moving experience ( and by that I don't mean your experience is an emotionally moving one but rather an experience in moving) reminds me of eating grape nuts. I swear each crumb of the cereal has babies when you add milk.