Screwing with my inner obsessive-compulsive. OH NOES! HALP ME!!!!
So, I’ve been pretty down ever since the London move officially fell through. Honestly, it was a pretty major blow. It went from “here is the proposal of the relo, here is what the moving expense coverage is, here is what the replace-all-your-stuff stipend will be” to “nope” in under two weeks. Pretty shocking. The door isn’t closed entirely, but let’s just say I’m not pinning my hopes on a date any time soon.
It’s all pretty depressing to contemplate though, since the Tier 1 General Migrant visa program(me) is closed and so, even if I do finish my degree at last, there’s no avenue for me to move absent an employer sponsoring it. I understand unemployment politics and immigration politics and blah blah blah, but seriously, I know enough Brits who want to come here, can’t we just arrange a one-for-one trade? I promise I’m a really productive person! And it’s not like I won’t be paying taxes in both nations anyways!
But I’m over at least the initial shock and bereavement, I guess. The first few days were pretty bad. The day I got the news, ironically, I had tickets to go see Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me — because it had been on my “things to do before I flee the country” list. I made it to the show, but I don’t remember much about it other than Peter Sagal had a bad head cold he heroically powered through, and Paula Poundstone cracked kleenex jokes at him. I know I made it home before I started crying again, but it was a pretty narrow miss.
I had started to seriously move on getting rid of stuff, of course. I mean, I started getting rid of the easy stuff to get rid of — sorting through my clothes more viciously to donate, selling books — after I got the “it’s really happening” in January. (On my birthday. Oh, the irony, it is thick on the ground in this tale.) I was pretty upset about the gaps on my bookshelves, after it all fell through. Not so much because the stuff was gone for no reason, so much as because the space where the stuff used to be is a constant reminder of what could have been. But, after a lot of sulking and thought, I think I’m going to continue getting rid of stuff. I had been planning to move with nothing more than my checked baggage, my two kitties in their carriers, my spinning wheel, and my bike… and if I’m prepared to do that, that means I’m prepared to live without all this stuff. A sewing machine I use once a year, that’s just not a significant need in my life… all the yarn that had been in my stash for a few years, I wasn’t going to use it any time soon anyways. It’s fine. It’s all fine. Stuff is just baggage. I don’t need stuff to be happy. I need space more than I need stuff. So, I keep on sorting through my stuff and dragging it off to the Brown Elephant to donate. May it serve someone else well.
That said… once it all fell through, I did go buy a new bed. I’ve been putting that off for years, literally, partly because I always felt like I was on the cusp of moving (even though I’ve been in this apartment for five years; I’d moved about every two years for the past decade before that), and partly because I have this sort of ingrained middle-class resistance to buying anything that I don’t absolutely need. And my futon is, technically, fine. I mean, it’s not broken. I can sleep on it. I don’t sleep well on it, I have insomnia problems and I remember distinctly last summer just feeling like I could never sleep off my tri training aches and pains. Well, fuck it. I’m not doing another summer of tri training aching like hell because I sleep on a (now) 19 year old shitty futon. I’m not a kid, and I have the money, so I bought a new damn bed like a grown-ass adult. I just went in to Macy’s, kicked off my shoes, curled up on a bunch of display models, and bought the one I almost fell asleep on.
It’s not England, but it’ll do for now…because what else have I got?
Move is cancelled.
So, everything is a bit topsy-turvy.
I’m currently trying to get a position in London through work. If it works out, it will literally be a dream come true. Maybe not necessarily the job (my dream job is, after all, driving a train for the Underground. I don’t think they sponsor visas, though), but certainly the location, and I do like what I do for a living (even though it’s not driving a train. I mean, trains! Best ever!). We’ll see how it goes. I’m admittedly a little afraid to say anything publicly in case I jinx it. Nothing is certain until the paperwork is signed, of course. But I’ve gotten the cats microchipped, and I’ve started selling off my stuff, Just In Case the stars align. Y’all know how it goes.
It’s a little peculiar how this feels though. On the verge of, as I said, having a dream come true — comes tension. It’s all the stupidest of things. Should I sell xyzpdq? What if I don’t get the job and want my xyzpdq? I had that happen with my drum carder. For those of you who aren’t yarn spinners, a drum carder is a rather pricey gadget that you use to prepare fiber for spinning. I bought mine a couple of years ago, and I loved it… I used it to prep art yarn batts, or prep fleece, or just generally make fiber for yarns for fun. I saved up for it, $25 a month for quite a while, to be able to buy a KitchenAid, and in the end I decided I would get more use from a carder than a KitchenAid, and I finally got it and I loved it… and a few weeks ago, I sold it. Because it wasn’t important enough to make the cut. If I pull this off, I want to pull it off in the least baggagey way possible, and that means not carting around boxes of shit I’ve carried with me since forever. I sold it to two friends, who are actually the fine ladies behind YarnCon (which, if you are a Chicagoan and a knitter or a spinner, you should certainly be familiar with!), and when Natalia picked it up from me she was practically rubbing her hands in glee at getting to process a particular fleece she had. But, all the same, there’s no amount of sending something you love on to a new home where it will be loved that cancels out the sense of pre-emptive regret, the “what if this doesn’t happen, and I’ve sold my drum carder for no good reason.” The price isn’t the most major factor (though it was definitely a sale at a loss) so much as it is, in economic terms, the opportunity cost. The “what-if” cost, the hedge against failure. The things that I have, I bought for a reason; if I sell them off and I wind up losing out on the London opportunity, I’ve not only lost out on my dream but also on the things I had before I was tempted at all.
I suppose it’s a lesson in materiality. I try not to be overly attached to material goods. I live in a small apartment, and I don’t have a lot of stuff in general. I had a CD collection which I did prize, and quite a lot of vinyl for a dilettante, and a fair number of books. Those are mostly gone now. The CDs are nearly all gone, but for one last box that I’ll haul off to sell; and the books are down to about one shelf on a bookcase, which — the more that I think about it — can be cut down even further; and the vinyl, well, maybe I’ll bequeath that to Michael. The more I think about things, I really think I can move with just a couple bags of clothing, my spinning wheel (only that because a Lendrum is pretty expensive in the UK), and my bike (because I love Ella Mae so, and she’s all tricked out with perfectly fitted aerobars and fancy waterproof German saddlebags and everything, these days). But it’s still a little confounding to try and balance the desire to get rid of extraneous stuff against the desire to have all of said extraneous stuff until the last possible minute because, after all, everything could always fall through.
I really, really hope everything doesn’t fall through. For so many reasons, and the stuff is the least of them.
(originally published 2003-06-17)
the rules are now posted outside my office door.
1. Always observe the Friday Afternoon Rule.
2. Tuesdays suck.
3. Never talk smack about the servers where they can hear you.
4. Never say “no mail will be lost.”
5. Never, for the love of god and all that is holy, say “this is the worst day of my life.”
6. Never say anything at all, actually.
7. It is broken. We are all doomed.