I don’t know if you know this, but I move a lot.
And it isn’t a new thing. From what I can remember (and there were numerous moves before my recollection), I’ve moved a grand total of 15 times- and those are all big moves, not at all counting various short term moves back to St. Louis or moving to different apartments/houses in the same city. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to guesstimate that my total number of times moving is around 25.
To put it in perspective, I am about to turn 32 years old and once lived in one place for 6 years.
That’s a lot of moving.
As you can imagine I’ve had quite a few dealings with the local U-HAUL places. There was a time in my life where I could see a U-HAUL truck and tell you what state it was just from the briefest of glances.
Most of the times I’ve gone to U-HAUL to pick up boxes or whatever, it has been a relatively uneventful affair. But as with everything else- there’s always “that one time”.
I was moving from Owensboro, Kentucky down to Mayfield (also Kentucky). My parents had come down to help me pack up and move and of course my brother (he really is my partner in crime) had come along.
Things are going along smoothly, packing up and cleaning and I’ll admit perhaps shedding a little tear for leaving my great little first “on my own” apartment. The next step in the moving process had been reached- going to pick up the truck.
Ben (my brother) and I decided (actually it was probably decided for us) to go and pick up the truck. We drive over there and on first glance it doesn’t look all that different from any other U-HAUL place. Trucks and trailers all lined up in the parking lot waiting to take the next family to a new beginning.
The similarities ended there. That was it, trucks in the parking lot.
We walked in.
I’ll admit that as I’ve gotten older, my memory has gotten a little fuzzy. And there are parts of this experience that I can’t quite remember as well as I used to. But, BUT!, the first moment of walking in this place will forever be burned into my brain. I wouldn’t be surprised is if with my last dying breath I say “U-HAUL”. Oh hell who are we kidding, I’m probably going to die at the ripe old age of 96 driving a fucking U-HAUL truck to a new nursing home because I’ve gotten tired of the old one.
This place can only be described as what I imagine the inside of some hippie’s dreadlocks looks like. It certainly smelled like what I imagine a hippie’s dreadlocks smells like. The patchoulli hit you in the face like a ton of bricks. Combine that with the stagnant, dark, creepy air and I was ready to get the hell out of there.
After I recovered from the smell and my eyes adjusted to the darkness- have I mentioned it was dark?- I notice there are fucking dreamcatchers everywhere.
I mean everywhere.
Hanging from the ceiling, nailed on the wall, tacked up to the desk, hanging from the clothesline… come again? clothesline?
Yes, the clothesline.
Oh did I not mention that these people lived in this U-HAUL office? Oh hell yea they did. Lived it up in style. There wasn’t a dreamcatcher collector within a hundred mile radius that didn’t consider this place a mecca.
By this time I’ve recovered from the onslaught of dreamcatchers, only to be blindsided by the woman sitting in the chair sewing a pocket onto a sweater… as she was still wearing it. I don’t even remember much about the old hippie who ran the place (my poor brother got roped in by him, having to deal with the whole transaction) because I was stuck in this weird old lady’s tractor beam.
All she kept talking about was how many cats they had and how many cats they had buried in their old backyard. Oh I didn’t mention the cats? What self-respecting patchoulli laced old hippie dreadlock wouldn’t be complete without at least three cats? That are just roaming free range amongst the forest of dreamcatchers?
I can’t even remember how long we were there in actuality, but it seems like it was an eternity. By the time we finally got the trailer on the car and pulled out of the parking lot my brother looked at me with a look that can only be described as “I’m surprised we left there with all our internal organs intact”.
I agree baby brother.
We were moments away from waking up in tubs of ice surrounded by a multitude of dreamcatchers.
And that is how I almost became an urban legend.
Postscript: when we dropped the trailer off in Mayfield the dude said that they hadn’t used that style of trailer in over ten years. Of course the creepy lot was full of them. I don’t have to use much imagination to figure out why they probably aren’t seeing much business.