Saturday, October 5, 2013

T Minus Two And One Day: Paralysis

Hang on: not so fast!

What I did for the move yesterday:


What I've done so far today:


What still needs to be done:

Not quite everything. And it's the "not quite" that gives me hope. There's a lot of stuff that I shouldn't be doing: packing the books and so on is included in the moving price, and were I to pull them all off of their shelves, I'd have nowhere to put the boxes. If I had boxes. Also, it's kind of hard to pack things I'll be needing in, say, the next seven days. Or ten days.

And some of the stuff I've needed to do has come to pass: I got a quote from the mover, along with an official letter of what they will and will not do for that money. It's about as much as I thought it would be, although I'm now trying to trim it down just a bit by deciding not to take some stuff I thought I'd take. And I have to put together a letter with some questions in it for him.

Another thing I've done is to photograph my CDs. Which, given that they're wedged into an area not quite big enough to hold me, has been a pain.

Don't worry: there's an in-focus version of this
Some, like the ones above, I photographed by lowering the camera by its strap. The lack of space in this house is absolutely amazing. But bit by bit, and with the help of my couch, I've gotten most of them, although there are more yet to shoot. I only get a couple of hours when the light is right for this: for the sunny South of France, this is one dark apartment -- and fall is upon us, too, which means less bright light.

There, that's better!
Another thing I've done is to engage the services of the amazing EP. EP was a high school kid who somehow met Chuck and Judi, who ran the English Corner Shop a couple of years ago. An Apple computer genius (not from the genius bar: he disdains them because "they are not real geniuses"), he helped them with all their technology problems and then, when it came time to move, he proved himself omnicompetent there, as well. At one point, he bought all my dead computers, fixed them at home, and made a pretty penny. Now that Chuck and Judi are happily settled in Ecuador, they suggested I contact EP, who's between school and college, and he came over the other day, looked around, and had a bunch of good ideas. Another thing he has is a mother who works at Brico Depôt, which may or may not be the same company as Home Depot, but sells moving boxes for the things I want to pack myself, like all this crap on my (physical) desktop. And although they're cheap enough, she gets a discount.

So I'm not entirely procrastinating, although the place looks more or less like it did when I typed my last post. I've also made arrangements: I've booked two nights at a hotel for my last two nights in town. The movers will, I hope, come on the 18th. On the 19th, the charity will come take everything that's left. On the 20th, well, I'm free, because it's a Sunday and you can't do anything on Sunday in France. I just hope I can get into a decent restaurant for my last meal in Montpellier. On the 21st, I've got another Senior Super-Saver First Class train ticket to Paris, a hotel not far from the station, a ticket to the Centre Georges Pompidou for the Roy Lichstenstein show I've wanted to see so badly (fitting that a year that started with Philip Glass comes to an end with Lichstenstein), dinner with a friend from the Well at a Cameroonian restaurant, and, the next morning, a short walk back to the train station where the Air France bus to Charles deGaulle will deposit me at my terminal.

(Oh, about that ticket: SNCF, the national railway, totally rebuilt the Montpellier station, and it's a lot nicer place. For the most part. I was expecting an easy job when it came to picking up the ticket I'd bought online, and walked into the huge room labelled "Billeterie" with my receipt only to be met by a bunch of computer terminals, inexplicable screens on the wall, and a small area in the middle with humans in it. I wandered around confused, tried to get the ticket via my credit card from a machine which refused it because, like all American cards, it has no chip, and finally located a woman who was handing out tickets with numbers which, when they came up on one of the screens, gets customers to a human. It took forever. In the old place, there was a bank of SNCF people at a counter and you stood in line. The lines were frightful. They also moved with incredible speed. Yesterday was the longest wait for a ticket I've experienced here. Let's hear it for technology!)

I've also begun to think about Austin, perusing a clever personalized web page of rentals a realtor friend has made for me, as well as cheating on her with another realtor and, of course, Craigslist. I've indulged in some fantasy furniture shopping and found at least one couch that looked right. I'm utterly baffled about the music situation, though: I hope someone sells what I used to call "stereos," ie, amplifiers into which I can plug a CD player and the turntable that's been sitting in storage for the past 20 years (now that I've given all my vinyl to my archive at the University of Texas), and maybe a movie playback unit of some sort. I've got the same excellent speakers (University Seniors) my dad bought me when I went away to college in storage, too. Oh, and there's also health-care...

Enough! Two weeks is plenty to deal with this, and I'm still here. I went to the market this morning and the fall bounty is beginning to come in, with the last of the summer (I scored a melon and three peaches, but I doubt that'll be possible much longer, let alone the tomatoes, which looked kind of scraggly) hanging in. We had some very dramatic thunderstorms last night -- orange alert! -- and this morning the air was so clear as I walked to the market that I realized I could probably read the date on a dime being held by a guy on top of Pic St. Loup, with good enough lenses. Of course, I also realized that it'll be a long time before I'm back there, or able to go find that castle on l'Hortus. There's a lot of sadness on the horizon, I can see, when it really kicks in that I'm not here any more.

One day at a time, like the alcoholics say. Be here now, like ol' Dick Alpert says. Better get some lunch, like my stomach says. Wonder if those pears I got on Tuesday are ripe yet?


  1. Ah, the castle!

    Good luck on the final weeks. Exciting!

  2. Hang in there, Ed. Huge change for you. I hope the trip goes well.

  3. You probably know this, but while people do still make and sell stereo amplifiers, some of the new ones don't have a Phono input. If not, you'd need a preamp for your turntable.

  4. If you are the Ed Ward who wrote the crummy review of Stephen Stills first solo album, I just want to tell you that I think you were cruel and very short sighted. That album was a stone cold masterpiece and is still jaw dropping today. It was released 43 years ago today and I hope you are happy that you hurt someone as sensitive as Stephen Stills was. What have you ever done that comes close to this album?

    1. Let it go, Stephen! It's been decades!


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