Sunday, December 14, 2008
It used to be so easy.
I remember, as a boy, every time I looked behind me, my Mum was loading the removals van.
Our last move but one, many moons ago, was from England to my home town of Glasgow. A friend of ours is a lorry driver, so we hired a 17-ton truck to go north. We were moving to the top storey of a tenement, which meant that we had to carry a cooker, fridge, washing machine etc up four flights of stairs. My brother-in-law Arietinum and I, it almost seems, ran up with the aforementioned.
Today, I was privileged to be asked by our friends Constanter and his partner Honorata to help them move house from one part of the Draughty Old Fen to another.
We did it, thank heavens, but the passage of time made itself felt, and how. We had some heavy stuff to get upstairs, and we did it; but when I was helping Constanter lift the last piece up, I suddenly felt the muscles of my arms turn to jelly, and had absolutely no idea what contribution I was making to the upwards force. Somehow we got the bit of furniture up there, mostly due to Constanter's strength. Although he is chronologically my senior, he's looked after himself and I suspect that biologically he's far younger than me.
Since stepping on each others' toes carrying boxes of books effectively ended our careers as ballroom dancers, Constanter suggested we set ourselves up as a removals firm. I agreed heartily, and suggested a trading name of Bumpitt and Reckitt, and it went downhill from there.
Before I left, I said that I'd enjoyed the experience, and my friends' jaws hit the floor. I have to admit that I found it difficult to put into words what I meant, and was too tired to extemporise. But it's good to do things with friends, and I am left with the abiding memory of getting the mattress from hell up the stairs, which ended with all of us collapsed and laughing. I think the mattress won.
I said I was privileged to be asked by our friends to help them move, and I meant it. Friendship isn't forged in Facebook, it's made when people help each other with no expectation of return. Like, for example, when Orienta makes us noodles - can we have some more, please, and I'll move your garbage?