I’ve always identified with those Fight Club scenes criticizing the mass of useless stuff that we surround ourselves with.  And, of course, the great cathartic moment where the apartment, and everything in it, is blown to hell.

I hate moving.  Once upon a time, my goal was to never have more than a single carload of stuff. Whenever I did move, I left all my second hand furniture and anything that wouldn’t squeeze into my little Acura hatchback behind. For my first moves, in my early and mid 20’s, I managed to stick to my guns.  Move on a dime. A couple hours to expertly pack the Acura and then gone and done.

Then I graduated to a pick-up truck load, then several pick-up loads.  Then I moved to a little U-Haul.  Finally, in 2009, I paid over a grand to hire three guys and their big fuck-off truck.

I know, I know.  Everyone hates moving.  I’m afraid, though, that I have some sort of neurological disorder.  As soon as I sign a lease, I begin obsessing about moving out.  The countdown starts right then and there as the short days click through the quick moving year.  I lie awake in the final months of a lease and worry about how I’m going to pack everything.  What am I going to lose this time?  What will be broken? Will I have the energy to face another move? Do I spend another grand that I don’t have, or do I break my back and the backs of a group of drafted friends?

I was so happy with my current place.  I moved in there with a girl and it was cozy and intimate for a year.  Finally – for the first time – I felt grounded.  The self-loathing fueled quicksand beneath my feet started to solidify. We signed the lease for the second year – to start on July 1st – and my girl left me on July 4th.

Now, in an apartment I can’t afford, I’ve found myself sliding back towards the quicksand. My landlady, strangely shocked that her perfect couple tenants have now been reduced to a wayward bachelor, spent July through September demanding that I take on a roommate, or pay more rent.  She didn’t calm down until I got a little forceful with her, which wasn’t too much fun. While she’s been good for the last month, her position is clear – I’m out of my place come next July.

I’ve begun a sort of passive packing/apartment shopping campaign.  The closets have been cleaned out and an idle search for cheaper apartments has begun – which is a tough call in the DC area.  If I want to maintain some level of peace and privacy, I’ll only be saving a few hundred a month in rent.  My alternative is to move far, far out once again (an unpleasant experience in the past), or become that guy – the slightly too old bachelor living in a group house with a bunch of dysfunctional 20-somethings.

Come the spring, things will have to move into full swing.  My plan this time around is to pack everything up in April and May, get every scrap ready.  That way, when I bring in the men and their truck, it’ll be a faster, more organized process.  I want everything to be one trip, just a few hours. Bed set up that night at the new place and done. Then a week off from work to have a good, long drunk.

It’s Monday the 8th as I write this, though you won’t see it until later next week, but tonight I’m viewing an apartment.  Or, rather, the second floor of an old Bethesda house. The rent is a decrease of $400, and utilities will bring that back up, but it’s part of my passive search. It’s also shared housing, but with someone who’s in their 50’s and working more jobs than I do, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’m debating moving without warning as soon as possible… Like a Band-Aid.  Get it over with and rip it off.

This time around, in general, I find the prospect of moving a little less stressful.  Now that I’ve decided to flee this city – and my life – once I’m financially clear, I’m living for that light at the end of the tunnel.  It should just be two years, then I’m free to go to a town I can afford, and reboot my life in an environment where I can actually breathe and think about the path that haunts us all – the next steps, where we go, who we are.

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