What’s the best way to spend a bitterly cold, windy, soggy afternoon? Napping, maybe? With a book and a mug of hot chocolate? Watching old movies in your jammies? No, no, and not even close.
The most perfect activity is a long, tedious car ride, mile after monotonous mile across a flat landscape of barren farm fields. The only interesting features in this monochrome tableau are the occasional and towering signs, they must be five stories high, for McDonald’s or Shell or Cracker Barrel. Such height seems vaguely ridiculous around here, not to mention unnecessary. The terrain, after all, is as varied as a billiard table’s.
A trip to my storage unit ninety endless miles away hadn’t been my first choice of things to do last week. No, that honor belonged to giving the dog a bath, another bona fide party. With two such impossibly fun choices to choose from I had to flip a coin. I lost, the dog won.
Even a gorgeous, fragrant spring afternoon wouldn’t improve the appearance of storage facilities. They’re ugly, depressing places located, almost without fail, in the middle of nowhere. This one is no different. The smell of mildew greeted me as I stepped from the car, so much for their ‘climate-controlled’ claim. Liars.
It’d been a year and a half since I’d visited, in the summer of 2010, but I recognized the boxes and the luggage and plastic bins. The vacuum cleaner was there, a TV, full backpacks, even the box for my old computer. Did I really need this junk? I had no idea, because I couldn’t remember what was there. The urge to close the door on the whole mess and drive away was very strong, but so was my curiosity.
I hauled box after box, bin after bin, to the car. When it was full, the storage unit was only half empty. Tired and dirty, I closed the door, locked it, and drove away.
My living room became home to the dozens of boxes and bins I’d liberated, scenting the air with unpleasantness. But then the fun began: unpacking. It was like Christmas morning. It was like a family reunion after a long separation. It was like an all-expenses-paid shopping spree. I found a mountain of socks, good wool ones and short summer ones. I found a brand new pair of loafers and a new pair of sneakers. I found heavy sweaters and sweatshirts and long johns and CDs and books and t-shirts galore. Oh, and one leather glove. One. Who cares, right? I’ll wear a sock on the other hand.
My new found treasures have been carefully washed and folded and put away neatly. I’ve dropped Santa a note, inviting him by the house for a hot toddy, but asking him to skip the presents. I’ve already received a truck-load of gifts, my Christmas has been more than taken care of, thank you. A merry one it was, too.
If it wasn’t such a dull trip, I’d go back for the rest of the stuff right away. Instead, I’m going to settle down for a long winter’s nap in my new red long johns.
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