One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to tackle any situation is to just be a man—or a woman, if that’s your thing—and address the situation head on. That noted, let’s go ahead and address the pink elephant in the room…err, on the blog. In case you were wondering, his name is Jamal. He represents the past few weeks (months) that I haven’t updated the blog. I tried to come up with a good reason for the delay in posts, such as being kidnapped by aliens or going undercover with the FBI, but the only thing I could come up with is that I was probably just sleeping. I know I’m a bad person, and I’m sorry. Now that we’ve acknowledged Jamal, let’s just leave him in the corner, which is exactly where pink elephants who wear blue tutus should be.
Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “punishment.” You know, like when your mother beats your hind parts for going into the cookie jar even though you’re 37 and they’re your cookies because she’s visiting your house. Or, when you get in trouble at work for pulling a no-call-no-show because you were stuck in line for three days waiting for the latest iPhone. I mean, it wasn’t exactly my fault that the line was so long. I’m not sure why my manager was so upset. We only missed four deadlines due to my absence, which were fewer than the number of deadlines we missed last month when I was waiting in line for Justin Bieber and New Kids on the Block concert tickets.
In any case, the reason I’ve been thinking about punishment is because I recently moved. I know what you’re thinking. Michael, you moved AGAIN?!?! Well, yes, but I didn’t exactly make that decision lightly. I spent two whole minutes pacing back and forth in my bathroom before I reached the verdict that it was time to go. And, of course, I also consulted with a jury made up of my fish. After three years of living in the apartment of my dreams, I realized that everyone in the whole world had heard about the recession except the staff at my apartment complex, who had somehow managed to increase my rent by $300 a month since I’d moved in back in 2010.
After a lot of crying and an unsuccessful attempt at flinging myself off someone’s first-floor patio, I decided to pretend that I was a grown-up and chose a cheaper apartment so that I could use the extra $300 a month in a more financially sound way. I mean, maybe I could start putting it toward my car payment. Maybe I could use it to pay down my student loans. Or, maybe I could buy more Starbucks coffee. Not necessarily in that order. Because I know where my priorities are.
Before we delve any further, personally, I’d like to know which one of our forefathers—or foremothers, if that’s what you’re into—came up with the theory that moving from one place to another was a good idea. Whoever it was, they need to be beaten publicly at the center of town square. I mean, why can’t we just stay where we are? Honestly, that’s part of the problem with our society. We’re never satisfied, so we don’t stick with anything. We’re not happy with our apartment, so we move. We’re not happy with our marriage, so we divorce. We’re not happy with our waistline, so we give up cheeseburgers and anything else that contains more than 5 calories. Whatever happened to staying the course?!?! Does anyone respect commitments anymore? Geez.
Well, I hadn’t even finished packing the first box before I began regretting the decision. If I could have just had the gas or electric cut off, that would have been $300 in savings right there that could have been put toward the rent. Once you know what your apartment looks like and where everything is, who needs lights? And if you believe that people should accept you just the way you are, who needs an iron or an electric shaver? But I digress.
To me, there is no greater punishment than moving. Put me behind bars and throw away the key. Sentence me to twenty years of community service. Perhaps force me to drink milk after the sell-by date, but please don’t make me move ever again. Every time I see a box and/or tape, I immediately drop to the floor and start flapping around. Matter of fact, I think I’ve singlehandedly found the solution to the whole prison overcrowding issue. Just sentence the criminals to life as an employee at a moving company. I can guarantee you that they’d be reformed after the first week, if not on the first day.
When I explain to people that I moved from one apartment complex to the one right next to it, they say it wasn’t a “real” move. However, because I had about fifty boxes that I packed and then unpacked myself, by the time I finished with that and did the cleaning of both places, everything hurt, including my dimples. I did hire movers, but since the company only provided two men, the move that was estimated to take four hours actually took a little over seven. If that wasn’t bad enough, one of the movers dropped the glass from my entertainment center, and it shattered into so many pieces that it took the guy fifteen minutes to clean up.
I must admit that the move wasn’t all bad, though. During the process, I somehow lost ten pounds. This was probably due to the fact that all the food was packed away in random boxes, which meant that I’d be unpacking a box labeled “clothes” when I’d randomly find a box of macaroni. As excited as I was about this discovery, that enthusiasm disappeared once I realized that I had not found the boxes containing pots, bowls, or spoons. I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten uncooked macaroni before, but it’s hard and it tastes a lot like…well…uncooked macaroni. I lost four teeth during the process.
Another good thing about the move was that it provided several big-boy moments for me. I found myself at Home Depot on numerous occasions for random odds and ends. You should have seen me using all the wrong words and performing big gestures in effort to explain to the workers whatever gadget it was that I needed. It took a while, but eventually they got it. For the first time in my 33 years of life, I can say that I’m the proud owner of a hacksaw and a screwdriver. Although I still haven’t figured out how to use either of them, I can’t wait to tell my dad. He’s going to be so proud. Maybe he’ll finally claim me as his son after I explain that I have a few manly tools now.
Also, I’ve learned a few things about settling into a new community. The first lesson is that you don’t complain to your new neighbors about how bad your new neighbors are. They really don’t like it. Even if you start each complaint with, “Don’t take this personal, but you and your dog [insert complaint here].” For some reason, they still take it personally. The next thing I’ve learned is that, after you’ve turned in your keys to the old place, the new tenants don’t like it when you stop by your old apartment to offer them decorating tips. Oh, and they don’t like it when you claim that you’ve left something behind, like the big-screen TV hanging on their living room wall.
In closing, I’ve been in the new apartment for a few weeks and I swear that I’m never moving again—at least not until my lease is up next year. It’s just too much of a hassle. Besides, it’s time that someone makes a choice and stands behind it. This is where I live now. This is where I’m staying. No new apartment complex is going to tempt me with their lush grounds, their state of the art workout facilities, or their sparkling pools. Nope. I’m staying right here. Oh wait…my old apartment is listed on Craigslist…and it’s $300 cheaper!!! Back up the U-Haul, Jamal. It’s time to move!!!
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