Monday, December 28, 2009

In Which My Feet and Heart Go Numb

It was a cold morning. The kind of cold that just steals the heat from your bones. I was standing on the street wrapped up in my scarf and the coat I made just for this winter. It was only eight thirty in the morning but in my soon-to-be-old neighborhood parking starts to get out of hand around seven. I was hoping that being there at eight thirty would be okay enough to ensure there would be a parking space for the moving van. As per instruction I was trying to make sure there would be a place to park.

At around eight forty-five an ajjuma tried to park on the sidewalk in front of my building. I waved her on by. She scowled at me from over the collar of her warm fur coat in her heated car. I had stopped being able to feel my toes about five minutes earlier. I danced around to stay warm. Pulled the scarf up higher, to cover my nose, cover my eyes. A minute later a young Korean girl tried to park on my feet. I waved her off and shook my head no. She continued to try to run me over and I stood in front of her car and waved her off, no again. She finally started to push forward until her car was against me knees. We stared at each other. Finally she drove off in a huff and illegally parked down an alley just opposite of where I was standing. As she slammed her car door at me she pulled on her jacket and gave me the finger. A few minutes later it was a business man in his SUV, as he tried to run over me like I was not standing there my phone rang. Finally the moving company, lost, of course.

Since I was acting as human traffic shield I knew that I couldn’t actually move to go get them without letting go of all the body-numbing car fighting I had been doing for the last half hour. Fortunately it was at this moment that a bunch of construction workers who had been eating breakfast in the restaurant across the street decided to emerge. I waved one over with what I hoped was a cute but helpless smile, and handed him my phone, while kicking the tires of SUV guy and explaining that he couldn’t park where he wanted to park because I had a moving van coming.

The construction guy ran down the street with my phone. SUV guy tired to run over my feet again, finally the moving van came down the street and SUV realized he was going to have to move. He moved in such a way that he had to move six more times before the van could finally get around him to park in front of my house. And thus the moving began.

The three Korean guys came up the stairs with boxes and asked where to start. I pointed at things and said basically all they need to know.

Cho-gi, okay.”

Cho-gi, sa-reg-i.”

Or, this goes, this is trash. I did this over and over and over again in each of the rooms of my apartment and watched as the moving guys started to pack up the end result of the many years of my life. I watched. It was all I could do. I felt helpless as I watched myself being packed up and slipped into boxes. I wasn’t sure what to say or how. Just trash/not trash. Trash/not trash. The pictures, the love letters, the unnecessary refuse of life, disappeared again, but I fought so hard to hold onto some of it. And in the end some of it made it into boxes; more than I have ever let make it into boxes in the past. I kept sorting, happy that the moving guys would be doing trash and clean up. I brought some extra bags and moved sundries into it that would go over to the Irish. Little things here and there, the various stuff that was not trash. I asked to leave while the guys worked and was told it was okay, so I dashed across town with stuff, taking a bit of break as they worked. Breathing, thinking, not thinking. I held my dog for a little while and then went back to the apartment. At this point my landlord started to call to make arrangements. I headed back over to my old place for round two of the move. Breathing. Thinking. My dog grunted in disapproval as I left for the second time that day.

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