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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Brooklynite

The weekend was a disaster. The weekend went well. These are two vastly different ways of looking at what just passed. Strangely, both are pertinent and both have some truth to them. It was a disaster that went well. Or it was a well planned disaster. Or it was a disaster that ended well. I spoke of the inherent inability of anyone to plan anything and see those plans through exactly as they were laid. While there was a great deal of hassle and strife involved in flying to Raleigh, packing and loading my truck went fairly well. Driving it back to Brooklyn and unloading it was a different story altogether.

By the time I was in the air Saturday afternoon, I could feel a sense of foreboding as the plane rocked through turbulence and an impossibly blank white sky. The clouds never parted and we landed in a rainstorm that did not let up for the entire day. My friends pulled through for me and we managed to get a 400 pound piano into a 10 foot Uhaul truck sans ramp. Yes, it took four of us to lift it up three feet off of the ground.

The rest of the loading was uneventful by comparison, except to mention that I was still loading things by myself up until 10 minutes of 10pm because of the unwelcome amount of packing I still had to do. Another item that I failed to incorporate into my genius plan. When I went to sleep, I slept. At 5am the alarm went off and before I knew it, with half a banana in my cheek I was on the road, Penny cat and all.

To deviate from the Google directions was never my plan but when I glanced over them and saw they were directing me through the center of D.C., I called my sister for a former D.C.er's best advice on how to circumvent the traffic (yeah, I know it was Sunday morning but I wanted to buy myself some time). Time that I would soon squander by neglecting to look on the directions for my next turn after Wilmington, DE. I have yet to look at a map to see what I actually did but somehow I missed getting on the turnpike so I had to call my dad for directions back across the Delaware River into New Jersey from Pennsylvania, where I was not supposed to be. My dad told me I'd get back on I-295 and merge with I-278 from there.

I drove up 295 searching and searching for signs for the turnpike and before I knew it, I saw a sign that said, “Begin 95 South.” South. I let out a hearty “WTF!?” and called pops back. As I was trying to get from him where I should go next, I was simultaneously maneuvering a full round about to get back on 295 South to find the exit for the turnpike I certainly missed. As much as I hated to turn back south in search of an exit which I had no earthly idea where to find, how far to look, within minutes of turning around, I started to see signs that said To 95/Jersey Turnpike. Apparently though, first, I had to get on I-195. Good information. Head spinning yet? Mine was. Once I was on track, there was no telling how far out of the way I had gone.

The Verrazano Bridge was a sight to see though and I was grinning from ear to ear. I even heard that Beastie Boys song on the radio that has the line in it, “NO...SLEEP...'TIL BROOKLYN!!!!!!!!” along the way. It was satisfying to say the least.

I called my moving crew, each and every one of them, when I reached Staten Island, before the Verrazano. I told them it'd take me 45 minutes to an hour to get there. I was wrong. I got there in under 30 minutes from when I made the first phone call. So there I was, arriving at my new apartment, unsure of whether I'd be able to park, and unsure of how I would do so without someone to direct me.

As I crept down 42nd Street searching for a parking spot, I saw one right in front of my building. I was so excited that I almost cried when I saw the fire hydrant standing there staring at me.

“To hell with it,” thought I. I'd be a short distance away from the truck if they needed me to move. So, I went for it and started to back in. I have never parallel parked anything that big, nor have I ever back something up that I couldn't see out of without someone standing behind me directing me. It was a miracle no one was killed. I was so excited that I did something monumentally stupid while getting out of the van. I failed to look where I was stepping and before I knew it, I was falling backwards out of the van, tumbling toward the cold pavement in front of my apartment. I hit the pavement, scratched my phone and began to laugh heartily. Someone must have seen me. The worst of it was over, though. The tolls, the botched directions, the mileage adding up (I was only allotted 611 miles and still needed to drive across town twice at least). And I was, at least, home.

All I had to do now was start moving boxes by myself and hope that everyone showed who said they would. It wasn't long before Mary Kate showed up, then Brian. Two others bailed on me but by the time Mary Kate and Brian showed up, I was nearly finished with the boxes and was down to big pieces of furniture.

Of course, the piano was the last thing out of the van, and the worst burden to move. Somehow, miraculously, (I wish you could have seen it), the three of us were able to get it in there. Across the pavement up five steps and across my living room floor without scratching it. It must have taken a half an hour. At one point, with one end of the piano propped up on the second step (one away from the top), I stopped to think, wishing we had a fourth person, then in a single movement, managed to lift up the lower end of the piano, to the astonished reactions of my friends who scrambled to get the other side up, just high enough to get it up the final step and into the hallway. I didn't even know what had happened until the 400 pound monster was sitting there, 10 feet away from, and finally on the same level as, the front door.

Once the piano was in, we brought the couch in, and then promptly sat on it and shared a couple beers.

Deep breath. More later on the hilarious debacle of getting the Uhaul truck returned.

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