Movers were never considered a rational option in my 20s. I played in shitty punk bands and made ten bucks an hour driving pizzas around the city—how the hell could I afford $130 hourly rates? No, sir. I had friends who hadn't yet ruined their bodies and could be bought with Domino's and Budweiser for a day's work. Pizza and beer is just as good as hard currency in college, and if you were brash enough to turn it down, we probably weren't meant to be friends to begin with.
Those early moves were never pretty. The assembly line begrudgingly transporting Ikea-bought shelves and bed frames up and down rickety, hardwood stairs tended to nick walls and chip corners. Because of the nomadic lifestyle, buying new furniture (or having any nice things at all) before the age of 25 was a calculated risk. A gung ho friend was always ready and willing to help until he made his sixth three-flight trek hauling another ungodly heavy box of useless art history texts. Then he got careless.
A healthy purge was crucial prior to every move—both to keep friends from murdering me and to rid myself of unnecessary remnants of my past. I've opened a box with enough ska-punk CDs in it to make you barf, and I've transported TVs I knew didn't work for reasons I can't quite explain. I've packed mushy birthday cards from ex-girlfriends who have since married, had kids, and gone Republican. And I've carried crappy consolation Little League trophies from residence to residence. I always embraced the fire sale. Because it was cleansing.
Aside from my childhood home, I've lived at the Reader longer than anywhere. The paper's move to the Sun-Times building today marks the first occasion in which I haven't rallied four to six friends to act as indentured servants for a day. Actual paid movers will be lugging pieces of 11 E. Illinois to the empire of our new overlords at 350 N. Orleans. Some of us ditched nearly everything, some of us can't seem to ditch enough.
Right now I have four stacked crates filled with Reader back issues, CDs, hot sauces, old story notes, and office supplies I've either inherited or hoarded. I've tossed every dated press release and donated every lame book that managing editor Jerome Ludwig thought would be hilarious to slide in my mailbox—The Chicktionary, Look at This F*cking Hipster, and Undateable didn't make the cut.
But I'm still having trouble letting go of most of my four-plus years here. Having begun not long after the sale to Creative Loafing, I've watched friends/coworkers rapidly come and go during my tenure. And though the office and staff has gradually shrunk, I've continued to accumulate an obscene amount of precious junk that makes me thankful I still get to tell people I work at the Reader, regardless of its mailing address. So I'm going to keep most of it. Because I want to.
Movers or no movers, I feel like I should be buying pizza and beer for everyone.