On my own, moving consisted of ferrying plastic post office bins filled with vinyl LPs between the old apartment and the new apartment. Eighteen boxes with only the help of a friend with a bum shoulder and another buddy who’s strength maxed out at opening doors. By the time my precious Minutemen, Curtis and Funkadelic jams were in the new place, my knees ached, my lower back craved a fistful of pain pills, and my right arm had a nice deep bruise. Less fun: navigating a District population who didn’t care as much as I did about my Kinks, Animal Collective, and Andrew Hill LPs. No one gave up their parking spaces or moved out of the way. A handful opened a door or two. But that’s it.
Real movers have the power in this city. On Saturday, the movers were supposed to show up between 9 and 10 a.m. They didn’t. They ended up being five hours late. Nothing I could do. We’d call the movers’ dispatcher and he’d offer up some lame excuses I think about a mover not coming into work or the classic—”they’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
Twenty minutes turned into five hours! The best excuse: the movers stopped at a Quiznos. That took another 90 minutes. And there was nothing we could. We couldn’t hire another mover. And we couldn’t fit half of our stuff into my Corolla.
When the movers finally arrived and got to my stuff, I realized that they could flout the rules of the city without a care in the world. They parked their moving truck half illegally on my narrow street (1400 block of Newton Street NW) and proceeded to take apart my futon, and stack up my boxes of kitchen stuff, CDs, and books. When a woman refused to try pass the truck, fearing her car would get scraped up, she blocked traffic all the way to 14th Street.
People got mad. Drivers got out of their cars. There was a lot of yelling in Spanish.
A big Dad type threatened to call the police on my movers. The movers just smiled—they didn’t give a damn. As they carted the rest of my stuff into the truck—total move time: 20 minutes—the dude actually called 911.
The movers just started up the truck and headed toward my new place. Newton Street’s traffic began to flow again. And I followed a car ahead of the angry dad.