I’ve never given much thought to moving. In my four years in the dorms, I never stayed long in any one place, preferring instead the ghostly nomad approach to campus life. Some years, I found myself staying the full nine months, and others I spent barely three weeks tripping over unpacked boxes before it was time for a change of pace.
As a result, I tailored my lifestyle to fit the constant transition. All of my outdoor gear lives in my trunk to avoid unnecessary time spent packing for trips, and my decorations consist of a single crate of paintings by family and friends with the occasional scraps of travel souvenirs. Really, all of my worldly possessions can fit in my car with the exception of a few large boxes of college appliances and books. So it’s a been a bit of a shock how nostalgic my girlfriend and I have been as we make the leap to a new apartment.
They’ve had the same apartment for over three years now, with more or less the same roommates, and me as a very thankful unofficial perma-guest. They’ve outlasted landlords, neighbors, roommates and at least four or five stray cats. Sure, over the years I’ve publically mocked it for its broken appliances and interesting neighbors — and to be fair, the toilet often flushes hot, the sink becomes a geyser if used in conjunction with the dishwasher and the neighbors seems to invite the police over at least every other night — but that never changed the fact that it was home.
I’m certainly not the only one with memories here either, as a spare key labeled “strays” constantly hung on the wall for anyone who may need the couch for a night or twenty. Though I might be the longest houseguest, at this point I’d estimate that I’m only one of 12 or so. As we’ve begun the packing process, we’ve actually found archeological evidence of roommates and guests that had been lost to modern memory. These belongings, remnants of a past age, consist of dressers with no owners, both the keyboard and guitar of an occupant that can’t have been here more than a day or two and a closet filled with enough extra shoes to make a significant impact in your average impoverished nation.
We’ve managed to effectively employ denial as our coping strategy for moving until yesterday, when we came home to find the beloved cat-shredded leather couches gone. Somehow, someone who needed them more than us had replied to the “free to a good home” ad that we posted on Craigslist and took them off our hands. Just like that, it was as if switch had been flipped for all of us, because suddenly the fact that we were all departing was unmistakable apparent.
The parallel has been drawn over and over between our situation and the ending of Friends as they stand in an empty apartment and reminisce over all the time they’d spent there over the years. It’s an apt comparison, as I’ve never seen another building in which no doors were ever locked, where a constant rotation of roommates and guests fought with various delivery drivers for limited parking and where traversing across the hall to steal ingredients was a rite of endearing passage.
This apartment spawned Netflix binges that lasted weeks long than were healthy. It birthed a disgusting Turducken created solely so I wouldn’t have to think of a topic for my next two columns. It played host to a party that accidentally resulted in sixty eight people on the lawn and inside a three bedroom apartment. Between these four walls, relationships blossomed (and erupted spectacularly), degrees were earned and I somehow managed to spill a thousand glasses of water on a multitude of important documents. During the summers I dyed the bathtub black with landscaping grime, and during the winters we damaged about one car per week by sliding down the hill.
Now it’s off to the far side of town, to a shiny new apartment complete with a fireplace that’ll let me roast marshmallows in my living room. By the time you read this, we’ll have moved in box after box, bent way over so GCI can grace us with an Internet connection and struggled to console a furious cat named Greg who just can’t understand why all of this is happening to him.
So here’s to the eastside apartment, fondly dubbed Labor (if only so that the joke could be made that we were “in Labor”), and home to more memories than a college newspaper column could ever hope to express. It may not have been high class or even structurally sound, but for a few brief moments in the grand scheme of things it was home, and for that we’re eternally grateful.
So, as always, tune in next week for gripes, complaints and genuine concerns that our new place is haunted.