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Saturday, August 19, 2000

Packing was the order of the day. (Hey! Where'd everybody go?)

Okay, I won't describe the process. I'll just say that I am thoroughly embarrassed at the quantity of video tapes that I'll never watch again. I may have mentioned this the last time I moved.

Most of them are now packed away and marked to go into the loft. They'll have to share it with a library full of books, but the difference is that someone, some day, might read those books again. It might even be me. In the post-apocalyptic age, they'll be much more valuable than the tapes. Books will be our currency, after the nuclear winter sets in.

All the physical activity of packing, combined with the August heat, wore me out a bit early today. I've been in a state of deterioration ever since I moved to the country.

Ironic, isn't it, that I could walk every day when I lived in the city, but here at Green Acres all I do is sit around and flab out? Ironic and disgraceful. And it's no wonder I've had these spells of weakness and weariness lately.

But out here there's no place to walk to that gets me anywhere. Besides, I live on a road that has neither shoulders nor speed limit, so I walk in fear of being swept into a ditch by a hell-bent redneck or a kamikaze Subaru. When I walk at all, that is, which is basically never.

Finally today, after many weeks of hinting, a few days of whining, and a couple of sessions of begging, I got into the new place, to get the lay of the land. Landlord Fred told me that the Vacating Tenant expected to have enough of his things moved out by next weekend that I could start moving my stuff in. In fact, the VT was pulling a rented truck out of his (soon to be my) driveway as I was talking to Fred.

Fred said that the VT would be back by 2:30 and wouldn't mind my dropping by for a look-see. He had left the door unlocked, and had said he didn't care if I let myself in while he was gone, but I wasn't comfortable with that.

So I waited until after three to hop the barbwire fence, squeeze through the narrow gate, and duck under the low-hanging branches that separate his place from mine. I knocked, but there was no answer. I tried the side door, but he obviously hadn't returned. So I slid open the glass door and stepped into my future.

I'm not clear what the VT does there, but the floors and walls are covered with particle board. The boards on the walls are spattered with paint in an array of bright primary colors. If I'd known he wasn't home, I'd have taken a camera to record this unusual artistic display.

All I really wanted was to see how much space I'm going to have and where the phone jacks are. Most of the VT's stuff is indeed gone. There's one folding chair and a few boxes, plus books (no videos) strewn haphazardly up and down the carpeted stairs. No furniture, nothing at all in the bedroom or the loft.

The most striking feature is the airy openness of the main room. The kitchen is partitioned off by a small counter unit, but nothing else resembling a wall is to be found. It's as if I'm moving into a gymnasium — and I love it!

When I moved to Green Acres, the attraction was a separate room for the office, and a place where I could get away from work and relax. Well, now I've had that situation for a few months and I'm thinking it's not all that great after all.

What really spoiled it for me, of course, was that I couldn't relax in the family room anyway, because of the barrage of noise coming through the common wall. So I ended up spending most of my time in the office, with the computer but no stereo and the small TV that I originally got for the bedroom.

Now I'm ready to go back to having the computer and my living space in the same room, but with a big difference — the room is three or four times the size of the one at the Home Office. And with all of that open area, I can keep tinkering with the arrangement of furniture and equipment until I'm fully comfortable with it.

It's so much easier to look to the future with optimism when some of the uncertainties get resolved. I could still lose my way, I guess, but at least now the map is getting clearer. That's comforting to someone who pictures dragons lurking beyond every horizon.

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