OK, I’m not saying that there are not crazy people that live in Chicago. Actually, you won’t ever hear me say that. EVER. I mean, I’ve been a big fan of the CTA. Back when I was a kid & you could smoke on the platforms I’d spend entire days riding the CTA. I’ve seen crazy people before. I’ve seen a lot of crazy people, from the lady on the Pulaski bus that would scream “Help me!” at every stop from Irving to the Haymarket to the homeless man that would tell anyone that listened about the last time he shit himself. There is a lot of crazy in Chicago, but there is also a lot of crazy in the suburbs. It’s just a different type of crazy.

I spent yesterday helping friends move. Hippie friends, that is NEVER easy. Whatever, I’m unemployed, I can use the work, I can use the socialization. I actually enjoy helping people move. Helping people move is therapeutic. And it sort of separates the men from the boys. You know what Thomas Paine said about the “Sunshine soldier?” Those people have no place when helping a friend move. You are all thrown into the same pain-in-the-ass & there is something fun about looking at that enormous dresser & knowing that it even crossed the owner’s mind that it might just be better to leave it on the side of the street. Nobody wants to move it, especially after eight hours, but you are going to anyway & it will be a shared pain-in-the-ass. You are going to pick it up, carry it a few feet & then set it down & argue about how you’re going to fit it through the door & once you get that done, you have to figure out how you’re going to get it up three flights of stairs & then, once you are exhausted & sweaty, you still have to figure out how to get it into the apartment & then into the even smaller bedroom door. It’s the masochist in me, but I really like doing that. I like being there to help friends move

I really like it when you’re helping a married couple move. That is a LOT of fun. Then you get to witness a whole slew of emotions between them that you never really get to see when you’re drinking together. It is always the same thing, she is hot & tired & just wants to get things done & over with. He is hot & tired & just wants to get things done & over with, but he just carried her enormous dresser up three flights of stairs & fuck it, we’re going to take a smoke break. That never sits well with wives & girlfriends. There is going to be a clash. She has been cleaning & unpacking & organizing all day & is cranky & not about to back down. He just carried her mother’s solid oak amour up three flights of stairs & right now he is going to take a smoke break & have a beer & nothing is going to stop that.

That’s where you slowly slink out of the room and go drink your beer by the U-haul truck.

Moving has NEVER made wives & girlfriends look good. EVER. I’ve always privately sided with the men in these situations, but then, I’ve always carried the really heavy shit up three flights of stairs. That’s also why all the really nice furniture in the apartment is hers. When women buy things, there is a different thought process. They don’t think about moving it, their brothers, fathers, boyfriends, male-friends, husbands, & husband’s friends do that. So, you know, they want something nice.

Men do the moving & somewhere in the back of their mind, when they buy shit, they are thinking about moving that shit. Can you take it apart & make it smaller & lighter? Good. Sold. Sure, the Oak dresser might be nice, but small pine one is cheaper & will be a hell of a lot easier getting up the stairs. I know you like the nice wood bookshelves, but these cheap K-mart ones come apart & I can lift them with one hand. Can we fit it in the back of a car? Because if we can do that we can easily get it into the apartment.

When you help people move, you meet future Facebook friends that you will never again meet in person. Brothers, in-laws, co-workers, sick masochistic assholes like me that are doing it just because they like it, sister’s boyfriends, people that the movees don’t usually socialize with.

When I was moving, I met a brother-in-law. This brother-in-law had nothing against Jews, but hated Zionists. I was with him on that for a little while, I don’t like genocide & Israeli Zionists are sort of doing a genocide. But he bitched about them A LOT & it soon came out that Obama was a Zionist.

I wasn’t aware.

Apparently Obama is part of the NWO -Illuminati-Free Mason-Zionist conspiracy. One of those people that are all about capitalism & the free market but have never heard of Adam Smith. No, sir, Adam Smith was not a Founding Father, there were other parts of the world in the year 1776.

I just can’t let that shit go. Do you know what a Zionist is? Yeah, it’s the Jewish Illuminati. (eye roll).

Listen dude, let’s just focus on moving a kiln up three flights of stairs. Normally I’ll sit down & try to teach you history, REAL history, but at the moment, we have bigger fish to fry.

At the moment, he need a bigger boat. That’s the problem with moving my Hippie friends, it seems straight forward, but when you get there, only half the shit is actually packed & the other half is thrown into boxes with tops that won’t close. It’s a battle to actually get it into the U-Haul in any means that actually makes any sense.

And then you have the wife issue. She doesn’t want to take anything apart because that means it has to be put back together. And then, when you are throwing things in the U-Haul, she’s not packing, she’s trying to organize the U-Haul. This room goes here, that room goes there & you are NOT putting in the big shit first, you are putting in all the gardening & art supplies first.

Honey, could you go & get some beer for the guys to drink? She thinks her husband is trying to be polite to her guests, but really, he’s just getting her out of the fucking way.

The moment she is gone, we get to work on the fridge. When you are buying apartments & NOT renting them in Chicago, sometimes you have a fridge problem. The best way to deal with moving a fridge out of a third floor apartment is a guided slide.

You put the mattresses on the bottom of the stairs to cushion the impact & slide it down the first flight. Then you move the mattresses, pivot, and slide it down the second flight. You do the same with the third & then you put it on the dolly at the bottom of the stairs and cart it into the U-Haul. It is a LOT harder to get it into the new apartment than it was getting it out of the old apartment. But wife &/or girlfriend can NOT be there when you get the fridge out of the old apartment. It’s a good idea if her mother is gone too.

I’ve actually done this several times. It’s clockwork now. To get it up the stairs it takes two people, a dolly, & a lot of sweat & vulgarity & once it’s up the stairs it immediately has to be in position & hooked up.

Stoves are far easier. FAR easier.

It becomes amazing what people are scared to move. Listen, it’s just camera equipment, a straight cutter isn’t going to hurt you. Kilns will not explode. But for some reason you will move the propane grill & the propane without fear or second thought. That is the dividing line between the people that grow up with artistic friends & family & the people that don’t. It’s not to say that a Canon SLR gadget bag & a Cowboy lighting system aren’t fragile, but you will not break them by carrying them up the stairs. And really, you don’t know how a kiln works? Really?

These are the same people that will move the $6,000 hydroponics kit & the plants that come with it & have no clue why everyone starts yelling at them to NOT move it until AFTER dusk. To them it’s just gardening equipment & they have no idea what the big deal is. Do you fill them in later? It’s amazing artistic people sort of go hand-in-hand with marijuana. It is also the danger of moving with in-laws & co-workers.

It’s a shame that I’m a grown-up that is job hunting. And don’t worry, that shit is for their own personal use.

The couches are one of the biggest pains-in-the-ass in the entire process. Even if they are not sleeper sofa’s & heavier than shit, they require the most stop-&-go & discussion out of any other piece of furniture. Take the legs off. Put the legs back on so you have a handle. There are three flights of stairs & each turn is a new challenge because, for some reason, you are never in the same position. In some of the new & nice apartments in Chicago there are moving elevators. My friends have NEVER moved into one of those apartments.

The good news is, ever since I graduated from college, televisions have become bigger & lighter but the bad news is, as my friends have accumulated wealth, stereos have become older & heavier. One piece of technology progresses faster into the future while the other moves further into the past.

Then comes the bed & the mattresses are ALWAYS heavy & flimsy & have absolutely nothing to stabilize them. But when you are done with that you get to move the box spring & that is a sigh of relief. One person could easily lift it, but because it’s so big it takes two to manage the size. Once you get it upstairs, you get to rearrange the bedroom three times & put the bed together because the wife wants it done fast.

NONE of the boxes are labeled but you know which ones the books are in. Books separate college educated men from college educated women. They both have books, but the men have moved enough & know to put them in SMALL boxes that are easy to manage. The women have moved enough with brothers, husbands, boyfriends, & other assorted males. They pack them in BIG boxes so they can be done in one trip.

When she is still packing things as you move, the books end up in the big boxes. So do the art supplies. She organizes them to make it easier to unpack. This means that the clay goes into the same big box as the twenty-pound bottle of glaze.

She doesn’t understand why everyone is getting progressively more frustrated with her as you move.

None of the boxes are labeled, but she knows what is in them anyway & it is totally NOT OK to stack them all by the door as you carry them up three flights of stairs. That one goes into the bedroom, that one goes into the art room, that goes into the kitchen, the living room, the kid’s room.

And then she is unpacking as you move. That means that shit is totally in your way & all over the place. “Can you take these to the dumpster on your way out?” Sure, I’ll go through the back door, walk down three flights of stairs, throw them into the dumpster, than walk up another three flights, cut through your apartment, walk down three flights to the U-Haul & grab some more shit.

And then, of course, this is Chicago, there are two U-Hauls because they have kids & tools & one of them works from home as an artist. One U-Haul is reserved in the space in front of the apartment complex, the other has to have someone sit in it in the alley & move it every time the neighbors have to go somewhere. That means we are playing the parking game.

I’m still single. My furniture goes out on the side of the road when I move & gets gradually picked up from the side of the road as I go along. I never own a couch that lasts longer than the apartment lease. When I move, it’s only mom that I have to keep out of the way, mom & the occasional girlfriend. CDs, books, movies, computer, bed, desk, cheap shelves, clothes, comic books, photo equipment.

The last time I moved it took under five-hours & two people & an Honda civic. When I was in college it took a duffel bag. When I moved out of Chicago it was a small U-Haul three people, two hours (four with travel time), & they even helped me unpack. It doesn’t seem that long, but then it took a year to get a couch, six months for an easy chair. The furniture was done piece by piece & I had one hamper for clean clothes, one for dirty, & a closet.

I hate moving myself. It’s usually fast & easy & because of that I have a hard time rounding up people. When I do get a lot of people, there is always that feeling of disappointment when I’m done. That was it? Really? We didn’t even break a sweet. No work out there & no furniture to drink on when we’re done.

I get different volunteers each time, but mainly it’s Chris, Dave, & I. Both of them are like me, all you need to do is mention that you are looking for a new apartment & they volunteer to help you move. Chris is a summer soldier in life, but when you move he’s there until the front line breaks. Dave is just a soldier.

Chris once helped me move into the same apartment twice. He was unemployed at the time & had nothing else to do. Mac & I rented an apartment in Chicago, third floor, but the occupants hadn’t packed or moved out yet. So we had to move into the second floor apartment for a night while they packed & then the next morning we had to move to the upstairs apartment. Chris was there for the first move & then there the next morning for the second.

Some of the same friends are a lot more domesticated than I am. When you move Chris & his long time girlfriend, you actually move shit. Some of them are less domesticated. When you move Dave, you’re just driving him & a bed across town. The only people that help Dave move are the people with cars big enough to strap a mattress & box spring to. When you help Hans move, you pick him up from O’hare & drive him to a friend’s house or visa versa.

The hippies I know, Christ. They are the ones that are good at life. They have kids & own things. They are into art. Moving them is a pain-in-the-ass, but it’s also the fun move. The move where you really have to knuckle down & fight.

But they are also the ones where the really crazy mother-fuckers come out of the woodwork. When I was moving yesterday, I was followed around by the brother-in-law. The one that believes in the NWO. So now I have a new Facebook friend, a crazy sonuvabitch that thinks that Obama is a Zionist Jew that is working for world domination. All because I helped a couple of friends move.


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