Pack It Up, Pack It In.

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
All those who hate moving raise your right hand and say ‘aye’. So we’re agreed then. Not pretty, is it? What should be a bit of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ turns out to be a traumatic experience which leaves you feeling rather like a refugee.

It all starts, of course, with finding a new place to live. Funny how a bit of estate agent’s poetic license can transform a musty shoebox with a view of leaking plumbing and dodgy masonry into ‘Cosy fixer-upper with outdoor water feature and rockery’ in the classified section. It shouldn’t be allowed. You get yourself all wound up, take that hour off work, conjure up optimistic visions of a splendid new home and you walk in and…no. Musty shoebox? No thanks, couldn’t possibly stomach another.

Once you’ve found the right place, the wailing and gnashing of teeth really kicks in. Now you have to pack up all of your stuff. Who would have thought that it would be humanly possible to gather so much useless kak? The fire hydrant from your old digs, that riempiestoel which is more stoel than rimpie, the stop sign your mate thought would look good on your wall that night with all the tequilameisters, the ‘arty’ collection of wine bottles, the festival beer mugs, the motley collection of nicked ashtrays, that Springbok Nude Girls poster, a stray snooker ball here, a loose sari there – they’ve all gotta go. No, not having any discussion on the matter – they’re out, the lot of ‘em. But this is just the preamble to a much more harrowing experience. Once you’ve made your peace and have bid farewell to the junkyard of your youth, then it’s onto the serious stuff. The next stage requires big-match temperament. The apple of your eye takes out the big guns, takes aim and identifies your vintage T-shirt collection as being needlessly large and – zap – out goes the last traces of evidence that you were once a wild thing. No, not up for discussion either. Dry your eyes mate, be a man, because it’s time to pack it up and pack it in - the next phase of your life is about to begin. And so it goes – the next thing you know, you’re surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap, you’ve got brown tape stuck to your shoes, dust in your hair and it’s min daë.

If the movers’ arrival an hour late in a skorokoro van doesn’t get your nervous tic on the go, their slothful nonchalance towards your priceless possessions will ensure that you start jitterbugging across the room in no time. While you stand slack-jawed and owl-eyed at the rough handling of something clearly marked ‘FRAGILE!’ in 72-point type, your man the mover is making reassuring noises, seemingly oblivious to his crew’s mortifying doziness. Every bump, thud and scrape is keenly felt, and a great deal of gazing heavenwards whilst mouthing silent prayer is observed while you tell yourself that it will all be over soon. You troop out of the old place, having said goodbye and good riddance to the woodborer, the mouldy bathroom counter and that leaky tap which you could not, no matter how hard you tried, ever tighten enough to stop leaking. You reconcile yourself to moving on to bigger and better things and then bam – you’re knee-deep in piles of empty boxes, you’ve got brown tape on your shoes again, you can’t find the damn extension cord and are forced to eat take-out because the stove hasn’t been hooked up. The brutality of it all.

But of course it doesn’t end there. Oh, far from it. Now the vexing questions of décor and furniture placement rear their ugly heads. Which is of course the last thing that frazzled nerves need, but it must be done. That lamp would look great in the…no, of course it wouldn’t, darling. Battle lines are drawn – the bathroom and kitchen become the preserve of the Domestic Goddess, and God help you if you think that the coffee tins should go in the corner with the cookery books. Every damn fool knows that coffee tins must be hidden from view, unsightly articles that they are, because the pride of place is taken by a kitsch ceramic tomato-shaped sweet holder. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll sit on the couch and chew biltong, far from the manifold dangers of a woman possessed who is armed to the teeth with ten kinds of cutlery. Tread carefully in these initial days; hazards lie all around. If, while involved in the onerous task of doing a convincing impersonation of an ungulate on the couch, you happen to hear the tell-tale sound of a ceramic tomato shattering, tiptoe to the door, get your keys and stay out for at least an hour. And when you get back, make sure you’ve got chocolate. And good quality stuff too - none of that 5.95 from the garage shop chocolate, oh no. Only something like Lindt or Toblerone will see the return of domestic bliss. Moving - not pretty.

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