A man without stuff
The moving gents came this morning to cart off my stuff, in preparation for the impending move to D.C. next week.
I knew I didn’t have much to start with, so it would go quickly. Sure enough, the guys were here and gone in an hour. Now the apartment is very empty, instead of just slightly full, as per usual.
A couple of weeks prior, standing in line at the transportation office (where you schedule things involving movers), I was privy to hear the material wealth of the people in front of me as they told the clerk how much stuff they had.
“Yeah, about two floors worth.”
“Big screen TV?”
“Just two shotguns and a pistol.”
As the clerk marked off estimated space and time requirements, I heard about floors, rooms, all manner of things to pack and move. Some people have law books, plasma screen TVs, boats, playground equipment, tools, racks of clothes, doll collections, antiques…on and on.
…Then it was my turn.
“Did you mean 10,000 pounds on this sheet, dear?” a practiced and polite lady asked at the counter, with that ‘Here’s another uniformed idiot’ tone of voice.
“No, I meant 1,000, if that, even.”
“You have to have more than that.”
“No, not really. I mean I have a desk…one of those cheap four-seat tables from WalMart, a bookshelf, a dresser and my mattress. That’s about it.”
“As an E6?” she looked me up and down. “Well, we don’t like saying you have less than you really do. The movers have to know how long it might take to move your stuff.”
“They told me last time I had 600 pounds. I’ve bought the small table since then, so I’ve given myself some leeway.”
“Well, alright,” the clerk finished in disbelief.
One thousand pounds was still too high. The movers just shrugged and carted everything out in record time. The whole experience made me wonder, “Do I not have enough stuff?” I mean, to be considered a man or something. Seriously, what’s with all the disbelief and skepticism?
Not to prattle on about America and riches and all that; but am I missing a milestone that I’m expected to have achieved? Some sort of capitalist marker or brand that’s not visible? Does it make me less attractive, less substantive? When people see the space and make comments like “Wow…very, um, Japanese” with a smirk, is that some sort of social condemnation?
I guess the whole thing leaves me half-cocked. Yes, I have no TV, I’m a freak, my apologies.