moving to boonton.

And suddenly it was Moving Day.

I had put out the APB to everyone we knew.  Sandy and I couldn’t afford to hire movers, and we had a lot of shit to move from a tiny apartment, so we asked our friends for help, realizing that nothing was a shittier thing to ask a friend than “Can you help me move?”

We did it anyway.

I rented a U-Haul, which was no easy task for someone under 25 years old. Since I was  barely under 25, I found a place that was willing to rent me a box truck.  And since I was broke and only moving about 25 miles, I elected to forego the vehicle insurance.

That last sentence?  That’s foreshadowing.

When I pulled in front of our apartment, Sandy and I were the only people there.  I sort of figured that it would just be the two of us.  However, as I started lugging boxes down the stairs and putting them into the truck, Rich showed up.

That shocked me.  Rich was not the type of guy to take a day and help you move.

Then Ralph showed up.  That shocked me even more, because I hadn’t really asked him.  He came anyway.

I believe Mark was there as well.  And Paulie, if I remember correctly.  Maybe Matt, too.  We were thankful for all the help we got.

We unloaded our apartment pretty quickly.  The night before, Sandy and I had stayed up late and patched all the holes in the walls with toothpaste, and fixed the giant sections of molding that Buca had eaten by fashioning new molding out of wood putty.  Then, we painted the entire living room, covering the toothpaste and wood putty.

It worked, because they gave us our entire security deposit back.  Boo-ya.  

Rich drove my car and everyone followed us to the new apartment.  As I mentioned before, the apartment was part of a five-family house that was next door to three other multi-family houses.  While each house had its own gravel driveway, all four were connected in the back by a large, gravel lot.  Basically, there were 9 or 10 families that all shared a common parking lot.

I gingerly pulled the truck into the narrow driveway that ran between our house and the house next door (more foreshadowing), and parked it immediately adjacent to our door.  We all marveled at how close we were able to park to our actual apartment, as opposed to our place in Lodi, where if we were lucky, we got to park somewhat near our front door, which was 50 feet from the street.

Our landlord, Al, was waiting for us.  We wrote him a check and signed our lease.  He then pointed to a small, fenced in area nearby our parking space.

“Are you interested in gardening?” he asked.

“Sure,” Sandy responded.

“Well, that used to be a garden,” he explained.  “If you clean that area out, it’s all yours to plant a garden.”

A garden!  Holy shit!  How cool would it be to grow our own vegetables?  Sandy and I walked over and took a look at the area – it was a space maybe 12 feet long by 6 feet wide, all fenced around by a cyclone fence, with a swinging gate.  It would be perfect for tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else we wanted to grow.

We spent the day lugging boxes and furniture out of the truck and into the apartment.  As we did this, we had visits from multiple neighbors from the other houses that were adjacent to ours.  It seemed like the neighbors were a mixture of young people just starting out, single parent households picking up the pieces, and older people.  All were attached to this large gravel driveway.

“It’s like Melrose Place for trailer trash,” Ralph said, jokingly.  He was dead on.

We ordered pizza from Roma Pizza on Main Street.  I went and picked it up, loving the fact that I was running out and shopping on Main Street in my new town. 

We sat on the floor in our new living room, eating pizza and talking.  We talked about how we envisioned the second bedroom being the office for Dromedary, and how we planned on having barbecues in the courtyard between our apartments.  Everyone thought the apartment was really cool.

“You know, we’re not going to see each other that much anymore,” Rich said.

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, you’re not going to drive me to work anymore, and I know you’re not going to go out as much, being this far away.”

“I’m a half hour away,” I said. “We’ll still go out every weekend, and I’ll still be working right across the street from you.  Plus, Lissette lives right up Route 287 in Oakland.”

“I guess,” he said.

Once we got everything unpacked, it was time to bring the U-Haul back to the rental place.  I remember that it needed to be back by 6:00, otherwise I was going to incur a second day’s rental fee.  I got behind the wheel and began to back it up the narrow driveway, with Ralph waving me on, telling me it was okay to back up.

I got about halfway down the driveway and heard a loud, scraping noise, and felt some resistance as I backed up.  I figured I was running over one of the rocks in the gravel driveway, so I pushed my foot down on the accelerator a little harder.  Still, I met the same resistance.  So I gunned it, felt the truck jolt upward on the left as I cleared whatever was causing the resistance, and then further up as the left, front wheel rode up on the concrete steps of the house next door.

Concrete steps, I thought.  That’s what I was hung up on.  

I decided to get out and take a look at the truck, to see if I had caused any damage.

I had.

The resistance I was feeling was the side of the truck, scraping against the concrete stairs leading up to the house next door.  The top part of the step had wedged itself against the side of the truck itself, poked a hole right in the box, and then when I gave it gas, tore a gash about ten feet long into the side of the truck.  When the front wheel beached itself on top of the step, the step disengaged itself from the truck.

I was fucked.  I didn’t get the insurance on the truck.  This truck was completely ruined.

That’s right, I ruined a box truck.

“Oh, fuck,” Rich said.  “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.”  I was shaking.  I couldn’t imagine how much this was going to cost me.  There was a six-foot long gash in the back of a ten-foot box truck.

I drove back, with Rich following me in my car.  Maybe I should lie and tell the guy the truck was like that when we picked it up.  Maybe I should tell him the truth, and beg him to let me buy the insurance retroactively.

When we got to the rental place, I found the parking spot as far away from the office as I could.  I parked the car with the left side of the truck facing away from the office windows, so the gash in the truck was not visible.  Then I walked up to my car and asked Rich to roll down the window.

“Stay here, keep the engine running,” I told him.

“What are you going to do?” he asked. 

“I still don’t know.”

I went inside with my paperwork.  The kid at the counter looked utterly disinterested in the fact that I was there.

“Returning a truck,” I said.

He glanced at the paperwork.  “Tank full?” he asked.

“Yup,” I said.

“Everything okay?” 

“Yup,” I said.

“Sign here.”  He showed me the place on the paper where I needed to provide a signature.  I signed.  I handed him the keys, expecting him to go outside and examine the truck.  I was going to tell him I had no idea how it happened, that someone must have hit me in a parking lot or something.

He never looked at the truck.  He took my credit card, charged me, looked at his watch and said “Wow – you just made it.”  It was, like, five to six.

I got in my car and drove away.

“How much did it cost you?” Rich asked.

“Nothing yet,” I said.  “The kid didn’t bother looking at the truck.  They’ll notice it in the morning.”

“They won’t be able to prove you did it,” he said.  “If they notice it in the morning and call you, you can just say you left the truck in perfect shape.”

I like to think I wouldn’t have done that.  But they never called.

~ by Al on May 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “moving to boonton.”

  1. Wow! Did I screw up and let you back into something? I thought you got caught under a overhang and had to let air out of the tires to squeeze out.

  2. I beached the side of the truck on the neighbor’s steps, and didn’t realize I had done it until it was too late. I don’t think it was you, I’m pretty sure it was me.

    Once in a while I still feel guilty that I wrecked the truck and gave it back to them that way, but they never called me so I guess it was something that was easier to fix than I thought.

    Or something.

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