There really is nothing like sweeping out from under your bed a pile of scrunched up balls of toilet paper filled with your own ejaculate to truly encourage some form a self-assessment.
That’s the first trouble with moving. It forces you to clean – but not just any sort of clean. It’s the sort of clean where you’re forced to own up to your lifestyle choices, if only to prevent the future tenants from gaining any sort of insight into the way you actively chose to conduct yourself on a day-to-day basis. Suddenly, then, the year’s worth of stuck-on urine next to your toilet makes itself glaringly visible. That “booger wall” you’ve been harboring rears its ugly head. That pile of mouse shit you periodically sweep further and further beneath your stove now calls out your name. This is the first trouble with moving.
The most cowardly of us chalk it up to superficiality, however. Cleanliness is for those who don’t live, we might say. Which is why things only get worse. Beyond cleaning, see, is the forced assessment of every single one of your worldly possessions. For some, I’m sure, this process is one of reminiscence: the rediscovery of old photos, mementos, ticket stubs, trinkets. For many, however, it instead poses a stark realization: your own laziness far supersedes your sentimentality. What becomes shocking, then, is how quickly you are to toss out that scarf your ex knit for you, that postcard from (now-dead) Grandma, that carved figurine a small (now-likely-dead) Nigerian child gave to you in exchange for your New York Yankees baseball cap. “Fuck it,” you think; just as half way across the world, a mother clutches that cap, the physical embodiment of young Abassi’s memory, tears streaming down her face.
And so you’re left with what? The few clothes you didn’t throw out (to the garbage dump, because “it’s just too much of a pain to find a donation center”), the one remaining pan you haven’t burnt to death or carelessly scratched the Teflon from, and that bottle of Jack you found in the freezer, near empty, but, “definitely worth taking.” It really has come to this.
Then comes the existential crisis. With your material goods, stacked haphazardly near the door, you begin to wonder: is this it? Do I need any of this? The answer, of course, is no. You could leave this place, one last time, empty-handed. You could instead walk. Just walk. Endlessly. Hours turn into days. Days to weeks. In the end, none of it would matter. These thoughts, of course, you quickly sweep away, much like the mouse excrement you’ve just now realized you neglected to dispose of. “But I sure do love my shoe collection,” you recall, attempting to comfort yourself. But it only makes it worse.
On to greener pastures, you step out of your apartment for one last time, feigning some sense of melancholy, if only to convince yourself you still feel, and cross your street, one last time, secretly wishing a bus would swing around the corner and finish this whole mess once and for all.
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