Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday Night Moving Van Mania, or an episode of our lives in the middle of a Richard Scarry* book.

Living in Portland is a treat for us, day in and day out. There's always something going on outside the window, whether that's the vehicle, office or apartment window--the sights and sounds of the city. I love it! Even those two moving vans at midnight last night. And the serendipitious appearance of the auto commercial with the DUH in lights. Perfect situational statement.

Here's what happened. Just about 11:40 p.m., I heard air brakes right outside the living room windows. This was before I had put in my earplugs--which I often do on weekend nights or sporting-event-at-PGE-park nights--and crawled into bed. Curious, I looked out. Imagine my surprise when I saw a full-sized moving van parking in front of the building across the street! I went into Mama's room to look out her windows and got an even bigger shock when another moving van made its way east in front of us, pulling to a stop, blocking the entire intersection as it went back and forth, back and forth, under the not-so-helpful direction of two men, one the driver of the other truck, on a passenger in one not yet parked. Finally, finally, it hissed to a stop beside our sidewalk at 11:50 p.m. By now, we've got the screen out of one bedroom window, our-curious-selves watching in disbelief as one man opens a door on the street side of the moving van across the street. Keep in mind that moving is an unbelievably frequent activity around here, with apartment buildings on all four corners of our intersection as well as up and down each and every street in the neighborhood, but this is our first midnight moving experience. Our last? Who knows.

A slender, mature-looking woman, dressed in a matching casual outfit, joined the men at the back of the truck across the street for a few minutes, then disappeared into the building. Our street has two parking lanes and two traffic lanes or these guys would've been chopped liver as they pulled moving pads out, tossing them in the street. Traffic continued, passing closely as the three men toted boxes into the building, loaded two two-wheelers with heavier, bulkier boxes and wheeled them into the building, carried rugs taped into cylinders and boxes that must have held framed artwork. When this particular man happened to look up at us, Mama asked him how long they'd be. He said, "Ten minutes, not more than that, 10 minutes," saw my camera and asked me to take his picture. Not enough flash for a good photo--we live on the 4th and top floor of our building--but you can see wrapped in plastic and cardboard the biggest thing they carried in on a two-wheeler. Could that be a curio cabinet or a grandfather clock? I wanted to try some photos without the flash, so I did, until no one was beside the truck and I got second picture below with the flash.

Mama and I made our way into the living room; she said she was hungry and headed for a carton of yogurt. I checked the Comcast guide again when Jay Leno introduced the music act, names I didn't recognize instead of Brad Paisley who was listed on the Guide, doggone it. Mama went to bed, earplugs installed. I watched a rerun of Nextel Cup practice at Bristol on Speed because I didn't think I could fall asleep yet. At one point I looked out and saw our intersection just like I wanted it to be, empty and quiet in the middle of the night. Every once in a while, one of the men would bring out an empty box or two and throw them into the van. Things appeared to be winding down. When two of them separately stepped between the truck and trailer of the nearest moving van, to relieve themselves I think is the mannerly way to state it, I knew it wouldn't be long before they started the motors and left.

Finally, at 1:10 a.m., the moving vans pulled away. I slept fine after that, no earplugs installed, with the sound of my fan serving as white noise.

I must report, though, that I dreamed that the three men looked up at us and asked if they could come upstairs and use the bathroom, and we unhesitantly replied yes! Once they'd used the facilities, they sat down to tell us moving tales and fell asleep all over the couch and chair! Mama calmly went back to bed in her room, the door shut. I myself couldn't fall asleep, fearing that the men were playing possum and would leave our apartment stealthily, loaded with more than they had in their possession when we had opened the door for them.

Can you say, "There's such a thing as carrying creativity too far"? I'm close, ain't I?

*Some of my all-time favorite children's books to read to Lamont and Leland were Richard Scarry books. Here's the Wikipedia link:

1 comment:

Keith said...

Yes, it's strange, I have no idea what happened there at night. Why van came so late? Usually they come in day time. I even can't imagine what man and van was doing there. It doesn't seem standard removal.