Secondly: I am currently obsessed with rummaging through our self-storage space.
As keen readers of this blog may have had occasion to note, Toby and I have been overseas for the past five months. Before that, we gave up our lease and stayed with his parents before flying out; now that we’re back, they’ve been kind enough to put us up again, while I’ve been dayjobhunting and the two of us have been looking for a place. This means that, barring a few outfits, a handful of books and some DVDs, everything we own is boxed, stacked and stored on the fourth floor of a neaby self-storage facility. Ironically, a lot of what’s there will be sold or thrown out once we’re in a position to reclaim it, but until that day comes, there it sits: a small mound of un-or-mislabelled boxes, bags of random crap, dodgy furniture and reams of household utensils, all serving to obscure the location of anything I might actually want.
We moved everything ourselves, so it’s not like we can blame this poor stacking on anyone else. Toby did most of the arranging, but seeing as how he’d also had to lift our fridge, a daybed, four bookshelves and two lounges virtually on his own after the Great Unmentionable Incident Wherein A Certain Husband Who Shall Remain Nameless Dropped The Fridge On His Wife’s Forearms And Hand, Thereby Bruising Her For Weeks And Rendering Her Even Less Able To Cart Heavy Things Around Than She Already Was, Although Why We Never Roped Some Stronger Friends In To Help From The Outset Is Beyond Me, I’m inclined to forgive him.
The point being, the room is disorganised, virtually impenetrable, and full of boxes whose contents cannot be ascertained by any lesser action than opening them. All the bags with our clothes are in the back lefthand corner, unable to be moved because (a) they can’t be reached and (b) even if they could, they’re the only thing stopping the lounges from falling over. All the tiny boxes with useful things in them, like my PlayStation and the X-Box controllers, are in the back righthand corner, hidden behind about 45 larger, decidedly heavier boxes containing a combined half-century’s-worth of books. The DVDs are interspersed with the books, and the only readily accessible things are, for reasons I cannot fathom, utterly useless, like – for instance – Toby’s Cylon bubble-bath container and my stuffed toy turkey. In order to achieve anything at all, I have to move three bags (two light, one heavy), a box of philosophy books, the TV (fortunately a flatscreen) and the case of my ancient desktop computer out into the hallway, stand on top of our ancient, surprisingly sturdy gas-heater, boost myself between the fridge and the edge of the bedframe to climb onto the upturned edge of one of the lounges, and spend five minutes surveying my weird, incessessable domain, like a cat who’s found her way to the top of the tallest cupboard. Only then may I begin the task of figuring out which boxes to move where in order to progress my excavations.
If you’re thinking that this all sounds extremely inconvenient and difficult, you aren’t wrong. It’s a cramped, dusty, sweaty environment, and though, after three lengthy visits, I’ve only managed to retrieve a smattering of DVDs, four books and our edition of Trivial Persuit, I cannot for the life of me keep away.
I don’t know what it is. Ever since Toby gave me the key, it’s been exuding a siren-song. Or, wait. I do know what it is: I want my goddam PlayStation 2. For about a week now, I’ve been dreaming of landscapes from Final Fantasy VII and XII, and every time I go there, it’s with the secret hope of striking the jackpot. Not, of course, that I can remember which box the actual games are in, and as I’ve discovered today, while the X-Box 360 and all its cords were in one place, the controllers most certainly are in another. Frustrating, to say the least. But on another level, it’s more than that. The feeling I get when moving the boxes around is almost identical to the way I used to feel when, as a kid or teenager, I’d take it upon myself to rearrange my room. I’ve never had much in the way of upper body strength, but that was part of the fun: with only me to lift the bed, mattress, books, shelves and furniture, I had to find a way of juggling, shoving things around until I could edge them all into their new locations. It was still physically tiring, but also an odd source of intellectual satisfaction. Here was something I’d done, despite the obvious difficulties, and with a visible result to show from it!
When she was younger, my grandmother used to get a similar kick out of rearrangement: my mother and uncle would come home from school and find that the whole house had been moved around. Right now, trying to clear a path through our storage room falls into a similar category of endeavour. Gods help me, it is actually fun.
Which worries me, on a number of levels. But not enough to stop me from going back. After all, that PlayStation has to be somewhere.