With this blog I wanted to jot down the salient features of what popped into my day in an effort to prolong its existence. Sort of like the 365 project for which you’d take a photograph a day, except I wanted to do mine with words. And with each day beaded along the next one, I hoped to get a rhythm going.Ha! The last post was written more than a week ago. Days went by with a lot of moving but only bits of musing and no writing at all. So now, with my gym schedule also resurrected, I’m back in front of the keyboard in a little pool of relative calm and order. The search for rhythm has been reactivated.Gone are the half-unpacked boxes, the ever-growing lists of “absolute” needs giving rise to quick runs to familiar stores in half-unfamiliar locations, and the rest of my seemingly haphazard activities. The back and forth with the landlord about the heater/air conditioner and the spotty wi-fi coverage have been (mostly) resolved. Of course, there are now bigger boxes containing a desk and a swivel chair in the living room. They were delivered yesterday and will be assembled tomorrow. There’s a sense of either acceptance or resignation, though, and the vacuum cleaner has yet to make its loud appearance today.
Although this blog was born in the chaotic throes of an actual move, hence its title, it hadn’t occurred to me that at the *other* end of the move my daily rhythm would be perturbed beyond recognition. That not-quite-expected change was to the extent that the first few days in our new location have sort of fused together into a frenzied mess. As a result there are vestiges of a forcible schedule-less-ness which is itself an inevitable aspect of change. Granted, I didn’t exactly expect this move to be a path of glorious flowers, reminiscent of this one on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris last Spring. But wait! This path’s appearance too would change with the seasons…
Change is intrinsic to moving. Right? But the initial packing is like buying items from the well-organized shelves of a store. Not to mention that it’s done with a list or two or three… In one’s home things are in their expected places and it’s enough to go through the dresser, the closet, the kitchen cabinet, and so on, to fill the luggage and the boxes that then go into the cars. When there’s no more room in the cars, the need-quotient of objects changes. Upon reevaluation, the steps are repeated and then that’s it. The conversation with one’s mate starts to end with phrases like “hope we didn’t forget anything important. And it’s not as if we’ll be in a desert. If we need anything else we’ll buy it.”
Then, one arrives at one’s destination. With each opened box and each gesture of removing something from its packed state many decisions have to be made. Are there enough hangers? No? OK, just leave some of the clothing folded for now. And don’t forget to add hangers on the shopping list. Which drawer for which toiletries? Oops, we completely forgot to bring “fill in the blank.” This quickly entails more and more shopping runs. Which is itself rather painful to me, because my motto for 2012 is to simplify and reduce. Not something to accomplish by more and more shopping!Once almost everything has found a place, another difficulty arises. Where did I put the ziplocks? Did you see the vitamins? And where did the workout clothes go exactly? These questions start having an undue importance because their answers cannot be taken for granted anymore. The objects we use in our daily lives are “pigeon-holed” to a certain extent so that when we reach for them we don’t have to think much or deeply. When in a new kitchen, however, even the most mundane movements lose their former choreography. Change the relative positions of the sink and trash can or the fridge and the counter, and even the preparation of breakfast becomes awkward. Our internal maps have to be reconfigured and there seems to be more decision making involved than is necessary. It feels like listening to an unsuccessful remix of a favorite tune or one which is out of sync.
With each empty box removed from the rooms, we’re getting back into our strides. Or is it that we’re making strides to get back to normal again? Normal, normative, the norm… No, not really. The ongoing search is for daily rhythm against which one can then shape one’s day. Rhythm as background and ubiquitous, at that, so creativity isn’t “wasted” on figuring out how to transport a desk from one room to another without hurting one’s shoulder or back (place it on the hallway carpet and drag the carpet, in case you’re interested in that one); or days that aren’t spent on making many phone calls to solve and re-solve the same problem, with a mobile phone that chooses to be whimsical and works best if I glue my face to the front window of the living room. This window right here, in the photo to the right.
And that window isn’t such a bad place to be… I can see the street, look at the trees and the birds in the trees. Then I can observe some of the neighbors as they come and go, as they walk their dogs or push their kids’ strollers. I can also eye and run out to get the “ideal” parking spot. And before I write more about our street, here are some images to bait your interest for my next post. The one that, I hope, won’t take me another week to write and post.