Tag Archives: moving psychology

moving psychology: settling in

hahaSo much to convey I have nothing to say, really. I just don’t know how. Everything I’m doing at the moment feels very transitional and process oriented, or old hat. I’m lucky for the old hat, because it’s giving me the base to transition. Yes. I am still settling in, and yes, the move has been a ten-month process, if not longer. I find that I partly plan things (settling in) and partly go with what feels best next. On Sunday, I cleaned the cupboard under the sink quite thoroughly. I put a lamp inside so I could sweep it out properly. This kind of thing has to be done for me to settle. Some might come and go without ever noticing, but no. I have to take everything out and scrub.

Why does this matter? I find the psychology of the home fascinating. Settling in means I move the bed back and forth until it feels right. I unpack books, many boxed and unmissed for six months. I give them away. I go to the store, get a friend to take me to the store, and go to the store again. I rebuy a bookcase I sold on craigslist in March. I move the books around again. I get lectures from friends about installing blinds and keeping dirty laundry under the bed (the latter a chide about choosing such a small space. “So you are going to sleep over your dirty laundry? (This, from a non-feng shui/energy-feeling type guy, I might add.) What is this? You would pay $800 for this in south Brooklyn (read: российский Бруклин~rossiiskii Brooklyn).” “Yeah, and I’d spend three hours a day on the train. Is my time and sanity worth nothing?”

In my other spare time, when I am not in the mood to settle in, I archive. I’m on 2004, which like 2000, is a very full year because of travel. Tagging the photos can be both tedious and emotional. The other day I tagged August 8, 2004, which was one of the most amazing days of my life, one I’ve always wanted to write about, but again, never knew quite how. Tagging the 187 photos was kind of a drag, though. All all of it feels a bit removed and gone, though my epiphany that day involves a prominent theme in my life. I had dinner with a friend last night and she validated my feelings about it entirely. But for six years I’ve wondered how to explain it properly. Now that it’s pertinent, especially because I needed help with the move, that’s what I’ll tackle next. Happy weekend.

how I almost gave myself a concussion with a glorified bottle of air freshener

03AptI’m lucky I’m not moving tomorrow because my apartment reeks of cardamon and fig. All because of what I pinpoint as a hearty resistance to giving up my stuff.

No, I am not making cookies. Good idea though.

Sunday night, after some guys came to collect my favorite bookcase (left), I moved a different bookcase to where it had been. I slid the susani off the top, and starting tilting it over, toward me. I heard something slide, and realized just before the heavy glass jar cracked down on my head that I’d forgotten a cardamon and fig essential oil diffuser (pictured below), which an appreciative and beloved student had given me, had been sitting on top of it. The impact of the jar on my skull was followed immediately by the slime of the oil. Don’t get me wrong, the oil is lovely in its proper place. It is not inherently slimy. It is, in fact, only slimy if poured atop one’s head, arm and torso. Bookcase, yoga blanket, and floor. Bloody’ell, as Aussies have put me in the habit of saying.

The quality and weight of the product was evidenced by its landing: upright and entirely intact on the floor, six feet beneath its home on the top of the bookcase. I went immediately for ice, and put some on my head as I tried to towel off the oils, off me, off the stuff. Bloody’ell. I threw out the soaked t-shirt. It had a tomato stain on it anyway. I threw the blanket in the packing room, and almost laughed. But I was sad about my favorite bookcase going, just after it’d found a new home under my Persepolis photo. And I still wanted to move the other bookcase. Alas. Question: keep ice on my head, or try to wash the oils out of my hair? The smell was staggering. I washed.

cardamon and fig valuspaYes, yes, I put this all on the resistance. I want to keep everything I love until the last possible moment, but that’s impossible. And keeping everything keeps me too comfy anyway. This is for the best. It’s time to move.

I woke in the middle of the night, asphyxiating on cardamon and fig. My head hurt a little, but nothing shocking. It hurt more when walking to work the next morning. When I got on the train, I was certain my scrubbed-but-lingering scent was overwhelming the car. I asked Ralph as soon as I got into work. He kindly said he didn’t notice a thing. “Oh, yeah, perhaps a little, as you breezed past.” Oh dear. “But that’s a good thing!”

Upon reaching home last night, after an evening out celebrating Anya‘s dissertation defense, I was overcome by the cardamon and fig. And yet again tonight, with the heat blasting because it’s freezing again. I finally had a chance to throw the yoga blanket into the wash. Hopefully that’s the last serious carrier. The windows are open. Let the airing out begin. Please.

moving psychology 255y

There were books on that bookcase. I wondered. That last picture must have been after they were packed, well into the move.

Yes, this is a scancafe scan. Nice example—some weird tear of the negative in the corner, and extremely yellow. They claim not to scan partial negatives or negs of only one image, so what on earth is this? They gave me some of my money back after the many issues, but this before I confirmed that negatives from December 1996–March 1999 are totally missing. I shot a lot of chrome in 1997, but that still means that the Pakistan work, which I’d been looking forward to seeing scanned, is gone. Lost. Gone. I know that they were there because I have the contact sheets for them in the place they should be. I’ve finally put everything back in its place, and I am 2/3rds of the way through organizing the scans. I haven’t bothered to contact them again because I had so many complaints. Perhaps that’s the situation with an order of ~6,000 images, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. I intend to write a final summary of the experience, which started last August, to finish and summarize the whole process. It wasn’t my intention to get into that now, but the image is telling.

So. Moving Psych 255y, where the issues are heartier. The more real the possibility of leaving my apartment (& NYC) becomes, the more I am able to appreciate everything. Because the walk to work every day is numbered, it’s no longer that same monotonous route. I look at people. I take snaps with my cell phone. I engage. I feel people when ordinarily the sheer weight of the city (or simply the sheer monotony of my routine) forbids me to do so. It’s breathtaking. Compounding the beauty, people open in return.

When I’m in a bad mood, when I’m sad, angry, depressed, or stressed the only thing that always shifts the mood is to stop and help someone else. No, I don’t always want to, but I try. It doesn’t matter what my problems are, and it doesn’t matter if the other’s are bigger or smaller. We are wired to help each other. It feels good.

The confusion and uncertainty is painful, but there is richness in it, a tapestry of color to which I otherwise blind myself. I have always felt a sureness in my bones before taking a ridiculous leap, the rightness of the whens and wheres and hows. I want that. Now.

So sit, you silly thing. It will come.