Lost In the Wilderness

I haven’t mentioned this at all on this blog or in my personal life, but I moved this weekend from Manhattan to Brooklyn. My gold lamé unitard is in the mail. I decided that hiring movers was essential to preserving my furniture and my friendships, even though money was (is) tight. Gold lame unitards don’t pay for themselves.

Movers invite suspicion. Like mechanics and strippers, they give a quote, but don’t mention the fine print. I am especially wary of these situations because I have a spine made of jelly and loose sausage casing.

When I was twenty-one I came to New York to sample city life. I lined up classes, voice lessons, and a piano bar with a twice-removed actor friend of my parents. I was pretty sure that all the subways either went up or downtown and that the line didn’t matter, only the general direction. That’s how I ended up lost in Spanish Harlem after dark carrying a stack of music binders. After three days of staying in a youth hostel by myself, my dad was flying up to meet me. I had to get the most unnecessarily large red suitcase from the Upper West Side to the hotel in Midtown East. I knew I could never maneuver myself from Up to Middle on the Subway that could literally let me out anywhere, so I hailed a cab.

The cab driver berated me from the minute I got in his cab till the minute he let me out at my hotel. He yelled at me for the traffic. He yelled at me for my suitcase. He yelled at me when I told him I wanted to get out. He yelled at me when I stayed in. At the end, he yelled at me for the twenty percent tip I stupidly gave to him. I avoided taxis like the plague my first year or two in the city. Since the recent fare hike, I’ve come full circle, but out of frugality, not fear.

I’ve come a long way in the years since I visited the city by myself. I understand that subways have nuances. I bring a normal-sized amount of luggage on a week-long trip. And if a cab driver yelled at me now I would tell him to fuck himself after taking down his name and license number.

But new experiences still unnerve me; I was really anxious about being taken advantage of by movers. I doggedly surveyed my friends on their moving experiences. I got estimates and re-estimates. Doing my homework helped temper my anxiety on moving day. I ended up with efficient, articulate guys. They honored their reasonable qupte. I never once heard the SVU theme music pounding in my ears. If you are moving in New York, I really recommend them: Veteran Movers. And if you are visiting New York, I really recommend pre-studying a subway map.


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