If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on it’s that moving is one of the least pleasant aspects of life, which is what I spent the largest portion of my Sunday doing. Being the altruistic kind of fellow I am, I was helping out a friend.
And yeah, he’s a real friend because there’s no amount of money, or dinners, or even chilled adult beverages that can convince me to help someone move. I’m the guy who leaves the room when the subject is broached.
So my buddy is married and has been renting a place in Mount Airy while his wife, an educator, finished out her contract. She’s starting a Ph.D. program in a few weeks, so they had to get down to the area on a full-time basis pronto.
They found a place in Winston-Salem that’s about halfway between his job and her school, packed up and headed this way.
I mention that because in the course of their existence, these folks have collected literally thousands, not hundreds — thousands — of books that had to be moved from the truck, up two flights of stairs, around three tight corners and into their apartment.
It was horrible!
My buddy works here at the paragraph factory with me, so he also recruited another co-worker, a strapping young 22-year-old fellow, to help — which is where this story takes a turn for the pathetic.
After about an hour of moving a seemingly endless number of bookshelves out of the truck, around a tight corner, up a flight of stairs to another landing with a tight corner and finally up the second flight of stairs where we had to flip and wiggle them into the actual apartment, we took a break.
They passed out cold bottles of water and we collapsed wherever we could find an empty spot of floor. That is, with the exception of our young friend, who was practically vibrating with stored vim and vigor.
So we got the furniture and other household items in… and then there were the books.
Let me give you an idea of what we were dealing with:
My buddy rented a 26-foot truck for the move, and the last six feet or so were stacked with boxes of books from the floor to the ceiling.
Being practical folks, we decided that the easiest way to accomplish the task was to set up an assembly line.
Our young friend took the first shift with the hand-truck in the back of the truck, loading the boxes and bringing them to the bottom of the stairs.
I took the lower flight of stairs, picking up a box and bringing it up the stairs to the landing, where I turned it over to my buddy, who took it up to the next landing. From there they were taken into the house by my buddy’s wife and/or parents, who were also helping.
Great idea, right?
Not so much.
The people who were stationed on the stairs, namely my buddy and I, were getting KILLED!
After about 15 minutes or so we looked at each other and without a word announced “break time!” Then we looked into the truck and it looked like there were actually more books than we started with!
It was disheartening, to say the least.
After a short break we were back at it, but rotated positions. I got the back of the truck with the hand-truck. Yeah. That wasn’t any easier.
More breaks, more rotations.
When the truck was finally empty, and the house was filled to the brim with boxes, we went out to dinner. Frankly, I was too tired to eat, but figured that if they could suffer through it, so could I.
It was at about this point that the pain caught up with me. My forearms hurt. My legs were jelly. The back of my shoulders ached. Some kind of pain was radiating out of my right wrist. Essentially, the sense of accomplishment was outweighed by the pain.
Looking at my 22-year-old co-worker, I had to fight the urge to slap him on the back of the head and shout, “be tired!”
He was sitting there smiling, eating and laughing like he’d spent the day by the pool.
And on the way home, I said something I’ve sworn I’d never say, using the exact words people said to me when I was in my 20s: “Enjoy it now, man. Because age and time will catch up with you, too!”
Keith Strange is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.