Stuff You Find in Boxes

So, I moved again. 3rd time in three years. If you want someone to divulge all their worldly secrets, forget torture, tell them to talk or they must pack up all their belongings and move. During the winter. While it’s snowing.  In later years, I’ll probably say it was a blizzard.

There were several times during this latest process that I contemplated tossing everything out the window, creating a nice pile in the back yard, and lighting the whole thing on fire. I would have sent out invitations of course, one does not have a moving-related-meltdown bonfire without witnesses.

And I definitely thought about that option one too many times. While smiling. It would have been glorious.  I worry about my future self during the next move….

But I didn’t. No pyromania show. I just kept packing.

The hardest part about the process is never the large items. Or the multiples that fit neatly together. It’s the in-between sized one-item only things that you absolutely can’t throw away, yet have no idea what box to put it in or even how to pack it.

An iron. Kind of heavy for a box, but it’s strange to just place it onto the truck bed. Hangers. Do you hook as many as you can on your fingers and hop into a taxi?

I opted to stuff the hangars into a shopping bag. Which I did with a lot of items in the final stages of packing.  It looked like I had gone on a multi-grocery intercontinental store shopping frenzy; SAS, Yerevan City, Target and Walmart.

Another dilemma I had during this move was my ever-expanding liquor collection. I had started with the basics of a simple bar. But over the years, friends kept bringing bottles. “Hey, this would make a fun drink” or “hey, we must have finished that up last time”.

Hey, that’s why I have 4 ½ bottles of gin.

Add to that, one of our inner-circle friends recently moved back to the US and upon his departure, bequeathed me his collection. Which had also grown out of control with gifts from guests.

Welcome to apartment move 2016, with 60+ bottles of booze. I’m not exaggerating.

A friend who works in the wine industry was good enough to bring me 10 cardboard cases to use for transport, AND she was smart enough to know that I needed an intervention. I was running out of steam, and she stopped by with another friend to help pack up my personal pub.

We loaded the cases in no time at all, and as I stared down at the neatly sealed boxes, I wondered aloud what I should say to the movers. “Don’t worry” they declared, “just tell them it’s fragile and be careful”. It sounded reasonable enough. And then we immediately went out to drink beer to celebrate solving the problem.

Cause I had everything but beer.

Moving day came and I had strategically lined up by size all the items to move. The mover/boss/truck driver had brought two helpers, who seemed most pleased with my obsessive need to make things easier for them. Furniture first, then bulky luggage, then big boxes, then the cases and smaller items.

The room was almost empty when one of the movers turned his attention to the cases. He picked one up, and intending to grab a second one, hoisted the first one up on his shoulder.

Now, half empty bottles, especially liquor bottles, really do have a very distinct sound when their liquid sloshes around. And when it’s 6 of them stuffed into a box, the sound is even louder. And in an empty quite room? Louder still.

He paused…., first he displayed a look of confusion, then curiosity, then realization. He glanced down at the other boxes and did a quick count. A knowing smile of approval crept across his face and the eyebrows went up. I looked away, avoiding eye contact.

The innocent “Oh, they’re fragile, be careful” was not working.

He picked up the second box, which I swear made more noise than the first, and now grinning, walked out the door.

He met the second mover in the hallway, and I heard a quick whisper exchange.

Let me explain a bit here. The average Armenian household has a bottle or two of cognac, vodka in the freezer and a bottle of whiskey. That’s about the extent of it. Anything more than that is found at restaurants and bars. But generally, not in someone’s house.  And not 60 bottles.

Mover #2 came in like a proud papa, and carefully picked up 2 more of the cases. Glug, glug. If he had a free hand, I’m sure he would have given me a “thumbs up”.

The rest of the move was uneventful. I mean, what can top that? I swear I heard giggles in the stairwell as they were taking the cases up to the new apartment, but I thought it again best to avoid eye contact.

When the three of them finished, now practically giddy, they heartily congratulated me on the move. “May you have happy sunshiny days in your new house.” Emphasis on the “sunshiny”.

I could just imagine the stories they were going to tell that night, “You’ll never guess what this woman had in boxes.  և ինչ քան շատ!!!… (And how many)”

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