So the movers are packing away and Linda is away at the other apartment cleaning and accepting deliveries of new furniture. “The game is afoot,” as Holmes often said. Things are happening fast and I’m not sure how much I can write here. I am useless now that I’ve washed the dishes and tightened the cheap Ikea chairs that are always falling loose. There is a feeling of impotence that accepting (or paying for) help causes. I want to have meaning in this whole process which I don’t seem to feel just paying for it. I am too 19th century. I feel like if I don’t put my shoulder to the wheel in this move I am not actually helping. Of course that is ridiculous because Linda and I are the “first movers” of this whole show. These three strong Latinas would not be here if we were not paying for them to be here.
It is strange having people in your house touching all of our stuff. Now I don’t know these women in our house singing away to the popular music they have thumping from our boom box as they yell questions and comments back and forth. I guess this adds to the strange feeling of helplessness that I feel not helping. Here are three total strangers doing what in the past only our dearest (and most willing) friends had done. But they are not Richard Heller, Joel Stanger, Trevor Turner, John Mercer, or any of my Berkeley friends who helped with the last three moves. Interestingly the last move here we were helped by Miss Misti H and the one two moves ago involved Dennis Wolf. Both of those people are out of reach to me now and I am sad that they have been replaced by paid professionals.
Neither am I participating physically (no heave-ho), nor am I intimate with the workers. I am slipping out of my life during this move. In this journal, a sign of my increasing alienation from my life, I am recording my increasing feelings of alienation from my life. The skrittch of packing tape sounds like fingernails on the blackboard of my life as I sit in a house with people working incredibly hard as I sit here and diddle on the computer. I guess the root of it is that I am uncomfortable with and unused to my new status as bourgeois middle class sub-gentry (I can’t even own up to the fact that I am indeed a well paid middle class professional with a post graduate degree and a good union job [I’m prayin’ for tenure]). I want to live in my imaginary hey-day of a working class youthful messenger. Sigh. If it was that good I’d have never gone to college.
If I insist on continually romanticizing my youth I will always be unhappy, looking over my shoulder at some thin hungry horny bachelor. The truth of the matter is that he was miserable and empty. I was lonely and bored except when I was misbehaving and in grave peril. The life I fantasize about was the life of a young man with few coping skills and a lot of misused down time. I guess I should be proud of one thing. When I was bored, lonely and venal I at least painted and wrote and some of those drawings and writings still exist. Two moves ago, from one place in the village to another I went through my “archive” and looked at lots of my letters and paintings (that wasted time alone justifies the cost of this packing). Up in the attic are two huge tubes of my work from the early 1980s that are testaments to the fact that there might be something to this nostalgia thing. But if you count out how much time I’ve lived and subtracted the time I “created” you’d still have each and every waking hour of a misspent youth.
So I think, against my better judgment I’ll post this now because I’m tired of writing.
When I was trying to stay out of the packers way I thought of a poetic way to characterize our move, but I think I’ve lost it: “from the intimate proximity of the gardens to the phallic modernity of the Big Six. ”