Heavy

I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally.

It feels like there is so much to be done, yet I continue to flounder. And generally get nothing done.

I feel like we should be doing more around the apartment to get ready for the movers, but I have no idea what mover etiquette says should be done. Do I just leave everything as it is and make sure the place is pretty clean before they arrive? Should I sort and organize beforehand? That seems like cleaning before the cleaning lady comes, in a way, but I have no experience with other people packing my things and thus no idea what to expect. I don’t know what the expectation is of me and that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to do it wrong! (And I thought hiring movers was going to make moving stress-free! HA! HAHAHA.)

What if they think we are gross? What if they stumble across something embarrassing? Like the midget porn I got as a gag gift at my bachelorette party. Does Goodwill accept donations of adult fetish films? The package is still sealed and everything.

The thought of someone pawing through my things is totally awkward. I feel like I need to somehow prepare it all to be seen, even though I am not a particularly private person (HELLO, I just admitted to having midget porn in my possession). I worry the movers will find dried cat puke in my closet and think that I am disgusting (hey, it’s possible I missed something). But really, Sappho is just super awesome at squeezing herself into random small openings where I don’t fit. I think she is part octopus.

*****

Yesterday I came down to meet Zack with the car and go grocery shopping. I stepped outside my building to wait and came across a pigeon that was hopping sort of weirdly, so I took a closer look. It became clear that it had flown into the window. One of its legs was broken, twisting painfully upward to appear as if it was growing off its back. It seemed otherwise okay, just off-balance and probably in a large amount of pain.

I proceeded to FA-REAK THE FUCK OUT, which included running inside and demanding that our doorman call someone! Do something! The pigeon is hurting!

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever spent time in a large city, but here pigeons are basically considered to be the equivalent of rats with wings. James, our most awesome doorman, had already called animal control and there was some ambiguous promise that they’d try to get out there if they could but don’t call us, we’ll call you, kthxbai.

I was on the phone with my sister when I first saw the pigeon and, knowing me as she does, she immediately told me there wasn’t anything I could do. I hung up on her in order to flail around at James about the situation.

Then I called Zack, who told me I could do nothing.

I also called my mom, who told me I could do nothing.

HI, AUSTIN. YOU ARE NOT A VET. YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING.

I knew there was nothing I could do as soon as I saw the bird. I also knew that animal control would just kill it, which probably would be the kindest thing for an undomesticated bird such as this. But dammit, I don’t like to give up. And it’s really, REALLY hard for me to walk away from someone/thing in pain.

Eventually the dogs coming in and out of the building scared the pigeon into some bushes in the park. Animal control still hadn’t come when we returned from the store and I looked for the pigeon this morning where I’d last seen it, but it was gone. I’ll likely never know what happened to it but I hope it’s somehow okay now. I am not sure what okay would be.

There just wasn’t anything for me to do.

*****

Last Friday I took an unfamiliar Metra line to meet my mom in the suburb where she now works (she has a new job). In some small town I’d never head of, my train suddenly came to a stop, with a collective groan from the passengers because great. Now we are going to be late and the world will probably end.

It turned out that a man had lain down on the tracks and we ran over him.

Yes, he died. It has since been ruled a suicide.

As I was standing on the platform waiting for the train to move again, frantically texting my mom because they were predicting huge delays and we were supposed to be on the road to Minneapolis, it began to slowly edge forward. We were told it was moving to allow traffic to flow again, as it was rush hour and we were blocking a major intersection. And all of the sudden – without a word of warning – I was looking at the sheet-draped body of the poor man, still partially on the tracks, police standing all around. There was a crowd of onlookers craning their heads to get a look and all I wanted was to turn and run.

Now that I work downtown, where many of my co-workers take public transportation to and from work, I hear way more often than I ever expected to about people choosing to lie on the train tracks and kill themselves. It’s not a monthly occurrence but it happens enough to not really be shocking for most people, seemingly.

Except me. Because I’m nothing if not thorough in what I cry about.

*****

It has been a long couple of days and I am still thinking about the man on the train tracks, what his life must have been like to choose such an awful end. I compulsively Google his name to try and glean something – anything – that might make his decision make sense even though I know it never will. I think about the pigeon, how it will either learn live with a horribly broken leg and overcome the pain, or die by a human hand or because it can no longer care for itself in the wild.

And all of the sudden, my moving stress doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

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