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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

Moving Day Madness

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I am a nurse. I am organized. I am beyond organized. I am hyper-organized. But no matter how organized a person is, she cannot control every variable. Which is how I found myself not only driving a gigantic rental moving truck, but also driving it in the fourth largest city in the United States. At rush hour. Into the setting sun. It gets more fun. I not only drove that gigantic truck right into and through rush hour traffic, closing my eyes, muttering a prayer and ACCELERATING with each lane change, but I then drove it into what is arguably the busiest tourist area of the fourth largest city trying in vain for a full hour to find some entrance to some parking area which would accomodate the eleven foot height of the truck.

There were none. My mother, who was riding shotgun as my navigator, said not to worry, everything was okay up to the point that I stopped the truck in the middle of traffic and burst into tears. We were very, very uncomfortably near that point when I finally gave up and asked the hotel valet if he could help us. He could and did and then everything was fine again.

All that is just to illustrate the part about not being able to control all the variables. About the universe being a random and not particularly kind place. About chaos. My daughters both graduated from college last weekend (Yeah that!) and we were planning to help one of them move the Monday after graduation. We were going to rent a truck, my husband was going to drive it, we would leave it at the apartment complex around 3:00 Monday afternoon and then go spend a relaxing night in a snazzy hotel, have a nice meal and move Daughter into her apartment the next morning.

But as the days and weeks passed my plan began to fray and then unravel. Husband got a new job and couldn't come. No problem. I've driven a truck before. Things were going along okay until we hit Dallas, or, as my family will now refer to it, The Whirlpool of Despair and Construction. We got a little lost, somehow, who knows, it happens, and then we got stuck in the aftermath of some terrible car accident. Two hours idling in stalled traffic whispering to the truck, "Please don't overheat, please don't overheat."

We made it out of The Whirlpool of Despair eventually and at last, but by that time we were so far behind schedule that we couldn't leave the truck at the apartment. And that is how we came to valet park it at a swank hotel in a cosmopolitan city known for high finance and high fashion. Out we hopped from the truck, sweaty and sticky and near to tears.

And yes, everyone did ask us where we were from. And yes, we told them. We smiled right back at them and told them proudly that we (and our truck) were from Arkansas.

Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" June 23, 2009 Column
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