It's 3am. The hum of the dryer with its click of plastic along its walls is the only sound I hear - a welcome relief from the panic in my head, although tiny piles of things still sit beside me. I thought when I decided to become a vagabond in search of a new place to call home, that pairing down to nothing would be easy. But I was really effing wrong. I would accurately explain this but I'm both too tired and I think any comparison would be next to impossible - perhaps it's as simple as: I thought it would be white and it's black as night.
Tonight after packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking, packing more times than I can count over the past three months, and looking at the last of the crap I had to organize and decide what comes with me but feeling overwhelmed and pressured to be on the road early (to get to my sister's tomorrow by lunch), I broke down. Perhaps it is because I'm sick of little piles of stuff. Or perhaps that it's because I haven't had a moment to just relax and breath in a month. Today I spent time at my grandparents pool - it was relaxing - but I came back to chaos. And panic. Curtains my mother made to black out my car for the nights I sleep in it didn't fit right or the velcro didn't stick and that took hours to work out - a complete solution still in limbo.
It doesn't help that a lot of people seem to think this entire experience leading up to this should be all fun. Quitting your job? Fun. Wrong: Terrifying. All of my senses of securities are gone. Going on what sounds like a long vacation? Fun. Wrong: SO MUCH PREPARATION. Like today I'm still buying shit - in addition to the stupid effing packing - sitting by he pool I bought a orthopedic coccyx pillow.
How sexy is that? This trip just sounds so appealing right now, doesn't it? You want to come with me now, don't you? Well tough, because I just (nearly) finished packing the car and there's not room for another human.
(Re-)Packing the car tonight took about nine hours. I took a short break and ate dinner, but only got through half of it before I began to go over all the stuff I had yet to do . My car was barely packed (although if you count the number of times I took bags in and out of the car to rearrange and repack a bag and then repack it in the car, etc. then it was packed 10 fold). I put my plate down, covered it and plastic wrap and headed back to my little piles of things or bags of little things I grouped (and then didn't group) just trying to get the hell out of DC (with my poor little hatchback weighed down and packed to the brim).
Think about it this way: You know how when you move, you get 90% of it done and that last 10% just never seems to get finished and it's frustrating as all get out. But you get it done and whew, wonderful and you didn't even lose your mind. I have done this multiple times in the past few months - in addition to an enormous amount of other preparations. And tonight, it finally got to me.
My mother came down to tell me she was going to bed. Feeling entirely overwhelmed, I was sitting in the middle of piles of stuff sorting through nail polish - I was trying to narrow it down to three. "Is that something you really need to be doing right now," she asked.
"This is all I can handle. I don't want to do this anymore." What's that saying? When you can't handle a minute, handle a second - or something. I was cautiously moving in seconds, which in terms of things, meant tiny bottles of paint. But soon after, I fell apart. It had been a long time coming through these last few weeks of preparation. Thankfully, my mom helped me go through a bag and that little bit of help got me back on track. Four hours later, I finished packing the car. (How's sleep, World? I bet it feels good. I'm jealous!)
And now I look at it and wonder: Did I pack too much?
Probably. And I'm nearly tempted to remove even more stuff. But I shit you not, I have packed and unpacked two 42" x 25"D bags over three times now and I'm going to burn it all if I do it again. Whatever is in the car is going. Because as I listen to the hum and clicks of the dryer at 3am, I know this is my last night in my "staging" area - AKA my parents' house. After tonight, there is no more "home." No bed of my own. My creature comforts or simple hums of appliances are no more. And it's pretty terrifying - but honestly, if it means no more packing and purchasing and huge lists of to-do's, let's get on with it.