June 8, 2011
We were pulling a massive wooden wardrobe, balanced precariously on a dolly, through the city. There’s no denying it—it looked silly. It felt silly. It also felt like the entire neighborhood was contributing to the progress of the move. After months of Craigslist-clicking in search of a wardrobe which was made from real wood, which wasn’t too expensive, and which came from someone in my neighborhood, I had discovered that these were nearly impossible criteria to meet. But now we were hauling the culmination of my efforts up the street.
“Wheel that right over here!” a woman called from her front porch. “Is that a dresser?” a small voice asked from the sidewalk where two girls were playing. “Do you want my help lifting that?” a very small boy asked with sincerity.
As the wardrobe stopped at friends’ houses along the way for breaks, and as it was carried quickly across the median of a busy street, and as it finally ended up situated nicely in my closet-less apartment to offer my clothes respite during daily dressing frenzies, I considered the difference of moving with cars or trucks: the wardrobe-hauling process simplified, but interactions with people along the driving path censored. The focus on the destination, insulated from the journey with walls. If the wardrobe had fit into the just-too-small car that we had initially attempted, then the woman who later recognized us as “the people who moved the wardrobe” likely wouldn’t have stopped to greet us. Our lives, compartmentalized within walls and containers, make our bodies barely visible to the people we pass. It isn’t easy to step outside of these boundaries. This was barely a glimpse.
Hello, city. Yes, I see you there.