Sunday, July 02, 2006

Plight of the poor #002: Moving

Yesterday, Agent S and his family invited me to help move a friend of theirs. This friend was a single woman who is in or possibly on the edge of the poverty culture in the fair mother city.

I've done this many times before: move poor people. It's usually a nightmare. Thankfully, this experience was amazingly easy. Most of my moving experiences with the poor involve one or more of these:

1) A person who finds it necessary to collect blatant crap forever and ever. Like old newspapers and bags and bags of aluminum cans that will never be recycled.

2) No hint of packing or order of any kind. Like they forgot they were moving or assumed the people moving them would pack.

3) The move-ee announces, "I have to be moved out of here by 3p"...and it's like 1:30p...and they haven't packed.

4) And oh yeah...they'll own like the heaviest furniture ever created by man, including 3 sleeper sofas (whoever designed those things needs punishment) that all have to be carried up and down 14 flights of stairs.

Thankfully, none of this was the case with Agent S's friend. I was blown away. This woman was actually organized. She not only had most everything packed in boxes and bags...she had the boxes labeled with helpful messages like "fragile", etc! I was very impressed. And there was only ONE piece of furniture I'd consider heavy. It was a dresser that wasn't all that bad. Agent S and I and the girls actually had everything moved in 2 trips which took about maybe 3 hours...a miracle moving experience within the poverty culture.

The poor move a lot. I don't know all of this woman's situation and why exactly she was moving, but it's all familiar. I think she's been sincerely trying to change her life yet she's still dealing with past decisions that effect her today.

Many people in poverty are just trying to stay one step ahead from a bill collector. Others can't make a certain utility payment that got way behind, so they move and start the utility all over under a different name. Eventually they forget which bills are under which aliases.

Still...many were living with a lover that had gone bad. My friend April Hawk and her kids (now grown adults) seem to have moved every 4-6 months since I've known her (7 years). One of those periods was from a house she had actually bought and couldn't afford the payments after losing her job. It was sad.

I once tried to retire from helping poor people move since it always seemed hopeless. I just knew once we got them into a new place, they'd have to move again in a few months. Glad I got an opportunity to open my eyes to this experience again with Agent S's friend...and that it was an easy move. I sincerely wish her the best.

Moving is a stressful event for anyone, rich or poor. The poor have to move more often that the rich due to many circumstances. I wish this weren't so and my heart goes out for them.

1 comment:

Jason & Nicole said...

I was laughing real hard reading your list. Hey, my friend, Justin figured out how to move the sleeper sofa we gave him that was given to us . . . up to like the 15th floor! He separated the iron part from the solid wood frame and tied it with bungee cords. I'm not sure what he did with the cement block that propped one side up. Some of the poor are the smartest people I know. Justin's actually a hospital chaplain.

I'm still laughing . . . I guess I never realized how many people I've moved . . . and that I'm a collector. I freaked out yesterday when my wife almost threw my three used print cartridges away. She got them recycled tonight. Hey, you never know when a recylcing truck might come upon your huge stash of aluminum cans and give you some award for saving the earth. Sorry for the long comment . . . but I'm still laughing.