Tag Archives: world cup

Moving: A Survivor’s Story

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Moving, like meditation, is full of long pauses, reflection, catching your breath and recognizing when you simply must have a cigarette. At least that’s the way it seems to be with the movers I’ve hired. Between each box, a new cigarette, a drag for every step walked, every stair climbed. And not just today’s steps. Not just here. They’re making up for all the time spent rushing around. The constant go-go-go of life is too much, and what better time to take a breather than when someone is paying you $90 an hour?

I see their point. I understand their technique. I too know the hourly wage and that there’s no prize for sprinting. Efficiency is an abstraction to be contemplated while on the clock but never practiced.

But I like these guys. They don’t want to be here. They tell me they’ve had a long day, I have many stairs and even though I live in a one-bedroom apartment and own about ten shirts, they say I have too much stuff.

Oh yeah, and they’re seven hours late.

At 8:30 p.m. they pick up their first box. Well, one of them does. The other walks inside with his phone charger. The second guy doesn’t have a charger but asks if I might have an extra for a Samsung. I explain to him as patiently as I can that I’m actually in the process of moving and all of my belongings are in boxes, so no, I don’t have a charger. I guess I could have also said that independent of the move I don’t own a Samsung charger.

Another box, another cigarette, eventually I take to just moving the boxes myself. It’s easier than asking them to work. Each time I urged one of them to get off of the floor of the truck where they were sitting and smoking, they would tell me they were very tired. Didn’t I know that it was late? How could I be so unreasonable?

By the third hour, they don’t just smell of cigarettes. There’s a certain, eau du vodka that’s wafting through my living room. They’re sweating it out and replenishing and sweating it out again. But mainly they’re replenishing.

I do not confront them because I have a Russian friend who recently told me why Russians drink so much. One of the great tragedies of their nation is their terminally terrible soccer team. They love the sport but they lose and have almost always lost, so they must drink. I assume this to be the case tonight. There is little time to work because they are mourning their soccer team.Related image

In the fourth hour, after breaking a table and declining to bring a few other things, the van is packed. It’s after midnight and I’m eager to begin the second part of this journey at my new home in the City of Champions, as no one calls it. But I am wrong. The Russians are tired. The Russians are hungry. The Russians need a meal break. It’s not my character, but I say no. We must complete the move. This isn’t a union gig and they did 90 minutes of work in 4 hours so we’re not exactly on a record breaking pace. The Russians tell me that the break is non-negotiable. They have all my stuff. I am powerless to their whims so I agree.

While they’re on their break, I drive to the new house and in rapid succession drink six beers. This is not pleasurable. It’s an act of self-preservation. The fifth hour passes with no sign of the Russians.

Finally, they return with a bang. Specifically, the sound of the truck jumping the curb, then bottoming out paired with the steady beeping sound that these trucks make when driving in reverse. I scream for them to stop just inches before plowing into the living room.

While the first part of the move took four hours, the second takes about fifteen minutes. They dropkick, toss, catapult, heave, roll, slide and dump our belongings. But I don’t care. It’s 3:00 am.

When they finish tossing my stuff they ask, Why did you move? Your other neighborhood was much nicer. I tip them too much, shake their hands and wish them luck in the World Cup. They wish me many years in the new house. I tell them because of the trauma of the move I’ll be here until I die. I am never going to move again. They laugh apparently unaware that I’m being completely serious.

The next morning their boss from QShark returns my call about the whereabouts of his employees. He apologizes that they were six or seven hours late, but he’s sure I can understand how these things happen. He asks about the work of the guys when they did arrive. He tells me Dima is one of his best guys. A hard worker. I pause for long enough that he asks again: Hard workers, right? They did a great job?

I think of the 200 cigarette breaks, the hour meal break at 1:00 am, the tortoisean paces with which they moved and muster, Yeah, they’re great.

5 stars?

5 stars.




Filed under House Hunters/Home Improvement

The Afternoon Beer Dilemma

Das Boot

I’m triangulated between two bars. A right triangle. Or maybe it’s another kind. Regardless, this coffee shop’s patio is hemorrhaging charm as I watch the sun lift itself higher, watch my work stay exactly where it’s been, watch the clock tick and with each tock make a case for relocating to a proper wateringhole.

It is technically the “afternoon”. It wouldn’t be completely uncivilized to have one, maybe two beers then continue with my day. It might be just the change I need. Beer: The Afternoon Delight. Beer: Better Than An Espresso. Beer: Go from Meh to Delighted!

There are other considerations. It’ll be a late night. After this work, there will be other work. I’ll be in a dark room with a bunch of screens watching take after take after take of actors saying the same fucking lines over and over again, only sometimes it’s slightly better and other times it’s slightly worse. In light of that, maybe a beer is a necessary retreat. A pat on the back. A lollipop after an inoculation.


The bars haven’t moved.

The World Cup is going on and although I’m not following it, I could always sidle up next to some Belgians, some Germans, some Grecians; I could paint my face in the bathroom then reemerge a fan. I’m not picky about the country. Not when I know there will be beer and camaraderie.

The other bar will not have the World Cup, but my feet will stick to the floors. It’s like walking in tar, but it gets stickier and stickier as I move closer to the horseshoe where they dole out cheap liquor and beer. It will be dark, very dark and the minutes will slip into hours and the day into night. No one will be cheering. There might be a couple co-workers huddled around sad margaritas celebrating whatever people who sell cell phone plans might celebrate.

The bartender will be somewhere between thirty and forty. A retired hipster, banished to a hipster bar where he must watch the clientele get younger and younger. Where he can read Rilke in the afternoons and wait for his girlfriend to show up with her just-of-age friends. He can hide his book too slowly, hoping to be asked about it, then give them shots of Fireball. Which is what they came for. They do not care about Rilke or how hard it is to retire from hipsterdom.

Future Bartender

I’ve decided to train my eyes on the work ahead. It’s important work about conjoined twins: what it’s like to have your own brain, heart, liver, but have to share a dick. Yes, it’s deep and philosophical, and though the audience for conjoined twin comedy is small, I think I’ve cornered the market. I understand their plight because while organs divide them, I’ve got organs in revolt; micro revolutions happening within my brain, my liver, my heart. The lines have been drawn, declarations have been made. One will take no more afternoon beers, one will take no less. One wants to write deeply important conjoined twin comedy, the other wants to catch up on Louie. One suggests that I train for a marathon, the other thinks a nap is in my best interest.

The bars, of course, still have not moved. I appreciate this.

Once, I saw the Salton Sea from a mountain and I was told the San Andreas fault line was getting closer. 6 inches a year; an impressive pace. This wasn’t the ayahuasca. These were the facts.


But the bars still have not moved. Despite fault lines, yoga studios, coffee shops, forthcoming luxury condos. Or maybe in spite of them. I’m not clear on the distinction or their reasoning. Maybe I better pop in, have a word with the proprietor, really wrap my head around the plan and the stand that’s been taken. If it happens over a beer, so be it. Someone has to carry the torch.


Filed under Information Pertinent To Gratification