February 28, 2009 6:18 pm, San Francisco, Lower Haight, Kitchen:
Jacqueline: “I can’t believe it’s already March. I thought I would be further along by now.”
Chloe: “What, there’s some professional aspiration you haven’t reached?”
Jacqueline: “No, I mean the length of my hair.”
March is once again upon us, and it’s raining in San Francisco. For the last three days I have been one third of the moving team whose lofty goal was to fit everything from an office of over 14,000 square feet, into an office just over 4,000. It was not supposed to have been like this. I’m not talking about the fact that my boss had been forced to downsize to a smaller space, in the process losing the ability to tell clients that our residence was the entire 22nd floor of a Class A building, although as he has refused to put our suite number in any of our contact information, choosing instead to write “Thirty-eighth floor” he is trying to trick them into believing nothing has changed, and they may be tricked until the elevator dings and there is nothing there to greet them but silence and an intersection of gray hallways stretching far away.
No, what I’m talking about when I say it was not supposed to have been like this, is the part about being one third of the moving crew, the other two thirds made up by two small women with no more upper body strength than I. But let me start at the beginning.
The moving company was three hours late, not showing up until four, at which time we had been forced to stop packing because we had run out of boxes which they were supposed to bring to us at 1 pm. By the time they got there we been enjoying a steady consumption of pizza, cupcakes, reeses, and sour worms, and had just started in on the Margaritas, which X’s girlfriend had brought over to calm our snarly tempers. I could have told him that it’s not a good idea to feed strong margaritas to little women if you expect them to simultaneously pack 10,000 files into ridiculously small boxes. The margaritas were good, but don’t bring downers to a move, now adderall, that would have gotten us somewhere. Instead J and I were soon on the floor covered in packing tape, giggling uncontrollably. But somehow we got the files packed and I headed out at 7:30 pm. At 5 in the morning I received a text message from X saying that they were still there and that the movers had tried to charge him double the quote before they would unpack the furniture, and when he refused they started to drive away with the contents of the office held hostage in the back. At this point X calls the police who show up and also order X to pay the full amount, even though he’s saying something about grand larceny, to which the cop responds, “Well you’re a lawyer. Just sue em.”
The next day is kind of a blur of grunting and pushing boxes around the office between bouts of glum staring, during one of these stares X looked at me and said, “Ramona, are you officially on a break? And if not why don’t you officially do some work before I officially lose my mind.” At this point I was enlivened to execute my favorite pretending to work move: look confused and then suddenly look not confused and start walking very quickly in a straight line, then look up at the ceiling as if you’re pondering an insanely difficult math problem and then count on your fingers for 10 seconds with your brow furrowed, and then if possible take a bathroom break. One other highlight is the entire moving team ie. Liz, Jessica, and I, putting together one of the associate’s desks which are these monstrous things made out of whatever kind of wood is the heaviest that must be screwed together to make this U-shaped giant, which is apparently the only way lawyers can work, surrounded by lots of wood. Anyway, we are all under the desk trying to drill in the middle piece, and I mean it’s heavy, so two people are holding and one person is drilling, and two thirds of us are wearing dresses for God’s sake, and the tech guy walks in and just looks at us like he’s stepped into another dimension, and we are laughing so hard we can barely hold the thing up, which is to say we had a lot of fun you know.
On Saturday, we arrived at 9:30 and it was just depressing, because everything else from the old office had arrived and it was chaos, with boxes and furniture stacked in the most haphazard way possible, not to mention the plants. It looked like a jungle in there, as all of the potted plants had arrived, and these are weird tropical plants with huge waxy leaves that are constantly tapping you on the shoulder. Liz, the paralegal, was so creeped out that we immediately had to move the plants out of her desk area before she had a heart attack. Plant relocation was something that we would come back to every hour or so when we had hit a mental block on shelf moving. A plant would go on a table and then 10 minutes later, out of the blue, Jessica would say, “I think that’s more of a floor plant.” This is how the whole day went down, table plant, floor plant, put together a copy machine. And you know what, we got it all done. By the time we left at four the office was ready for business and we were tired and there were many bleeding fingers, but we felt good like when you go into the library to write a paper and you actually write a paper, and for a minute you are exuberant filled with the pride of a few hours well spent.