Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Sing as We Go Along!" (Moving Day)

On the morning of the twelfth, I awoke at five in the morning, having gone to bed at one in the morning. Not the best way to start a travel day, but it's usual for me. I can never sleep the night before leaving a place. I only got about two hours of sleep the night before I left Korea! I don't know whether it's excitement or stress (or maybe both), but whenever I'm getting ready to go somewhere, I feel like my eyelids are being held open with toothpicks the night before.

By 5:30, I was on the road. I had planned to stop at my favorite watering hole, Starbucks, for some nectar of life (coffee), but I wasn't sure how early they opened, so I did not wind up stopping until I reached Ohio. Then, since my blood sugar was being most unaccommodating by making me slightly dizzy and giving me one of those echo-y headaches, I stopped at a rest area for a nice, healthy breakfast - a huge, hot cinnamon roll and an iced mocha. Hey, it was healthy in a psychological way!

I made excellent time and was amazed by the lack of traffic for most of the way. There was one slight hitch in Pennsylvania when I tried to avoid a long time on the expensive toll road by detouring slightly, which resulted in a "scenic tour" of Greensburg (which, by the way, is not scenic at all), but other than that, it was a pleasant drive. I cranked up the music, sang along in my atrocious singing voice (which has been known to alter the migratory patterns of birds), and had a fine time. Then I got about half an hour away from Manassas and hit the DC traffic...

Actually, the DC traffic was not a problem at first. Everyone was merging quite well and maintaining their speed adequately, so I had no complaints. Then I got about ten minutes from Manassas and things got....interesting. That is, if you call six lanes crammed with vehicles coming to a complete halt interesting. Even then, I didn't get terribly stressed. For the first twenty minutes or so, I entertained myself by composing new lyrics to old tunes. Among some of my favorites were "Everybody Merge" (to the tune of "Everybody Sing" - "Everybody merge! Everybody merge! Let the squeal of your brakes send the world on a surge!"), "Manassas" (to the tune of "Tomorrow" - "Manassas! Manassas! I love ya, Manassas! You're only ten miles away."), and of course, my own version of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" ("All I want is I-66, that's the way that I get my kicks. And one free pass from this jam, oh, wouldn't it be loverly?").

As the minutes dragged on, I became aware that the jam was the result of a large accident, and was not likely to clear anytime soon. Since I now have my own TomTom, I can detour to my heart's content, so I got off at Centerville and found...another accident, and another jam. Huzzah. After over another hour had passed, I finally reached my apartment - an epic journey which should have taken only twelve minutes.

The temperature was in the nineties when I arrived (at 5:30 pm), and I had a full car to unload. Thankfully, I had only one flight of steps to lug everything up, or else I might not be alive today to type this post! Since I had neglected to stop for lunch, and since I had had very little to drink all day, I soon was hit by heat exhaustion. I couldn't rest, however, because there was still the 42-inch TV left in the car, and there was no way I was going to risk leaving it in the high heat. Being flat-screened, my new television set is not extraordinarily heavy (although light does not describe it either), but it is very awkward to hang onto when only one person is carrying it, especially when sweaty hands are a factor. That trip up the steps was harrowing, but I luckily made it up without incident.

It would have been wonderful to crawl into a nice soft, cool bed after all that exertion, but sadly, my new bed is still in Michigan. Instead, I had a sleeping bag on the floor to cradle my aching bones that night. I'm not complaining though - at least I have a lovely apartment in which to sleep on the floor.

And so ended Moving Day, with our weary and sore heroine curled up on the floor, praising God for air conditioning.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"