Twelve and a half hours ago, I thought I was looking at a few hours of packing in my study.
It looks worse in here than when I started, and I still have more to do.
I had this lofty goal of getting rid of most of my stuff, but I neglected to think about how much time it takes to sort through all of it.
The worst was when I found an entire box of sensitive papers to shred. I knew why I had packed it; I had loaned my shredder to someone who had never returned it. Still, I felt horrible when I found that box. It was a giant symbol of all the physical and metaphorical crap I have been lugging around for ages.
Purging most of it should feel better than it does right now, but until this room starts looking significantly emptier, I’m going to be grumpy about it.
Although this is hardly my first day of packing for Scotland, it has been a long one, filled with Kleenex (yay, head cold) and boxes I never unpacked from my last move and lots of stuff I simply do not know why I own. And now, some highlights!
Packed for storage: my entire poetry library. I may regret that, but it will give me a good excuse to use the public library system while I am there.
Thing I thought I would want to keep but don’t: my high school yearbook from senior year. I contacted my school’s alumni association to see if they want it. (Thanks for the idea, Unclutterer!)
Books, books, books. So very many books. Would you like some books? I have some up for swap at PaperBackSwap and Goodreads. If you are looking for a particular book, you are welcome to check out my library on LibraryThing and make me an offer.
Every once in a while, I encounter the N-Judah Greeter. He is a sweet man who says hello and waves to everyone who boards the train, and says goodbye and waves to everyone who leaves.
Most people avoid catching his eye, because that is his signal that it is okay to wave and talk. He spends a lot of the time in suspended animation, looking expectantly at each new passenger, hoping for eye contact. As soon as the person looks up, he waves and exclaims, “Hello!” Women get a “lady” tacked on the end. If the person does not respond, he repeats himself a few times, then stops and moves on to the next person.
If you, like me, respond, then there is a short script:
“Hello, lady!” “Hello!” “Where are you going?” “Home!” “OK, lady!”
On the way out, there is a similarly enthusiastic send-off. If it happens to be a Friday, as it was when I last saw the Greeter, he waves and says, “Bye-bye, lady,” then adds, “Have a good weekend!”
The Greeter has a thankless job. Because he is friendly on Muni, he is mostly treated like a hostile stranger. I have learned to take my enthusiastic greetings and send-offs where I can get them, because I never know when it will be the last time I see a place.
Except now I know. I know when my last Muni ride will be. I know when I will close the front door of my home for the last time, when I will drive to SFO for the last time, when I will get on a plane with my bags and my cats and fly over this giant place to a dream.
My beloved FunkyPlaid and I are moving to Scotland. Now that I can type that, it is real to me. He leaves in just over two weeks to get settled and start his PhD program, and I leave in just under two months with Zen and Torgi in tow.
Almost eight years ago, FunkyPlaid made this trip alone. I drove him to SFO and dissolved at the security checkpoint. I joked with him the other day that I won’t be crying this time, but who am I kidding? The moment is too big for me not to cry.
This departure is a culmination of so much planning, hard work, imagination, and passion, bolstered with support from our dear friends and family, and sprinkled with a bit of good luck and great timing. Most days it is difficult for me to picture the end result because there is still so much to do, and I find my motivation in knocking things off to-do lists. But every once in a while, I look up from the cardboard boxes and think of the adventure about to begin.
[box type=“shadow”]I ride a shuttle to work. It is a really nice shuttle and the first time I have ever had this luxury, causing me to overthink pretty much every aspect of it, especially where to sit. And now I overthink where I decide to sit in every open-seating situation, so I’m writing about it in a series called How I Decide Where to Sit.[/box]