Not Moving on the First to Avoid not Moving on the First: September Gridlock and the New Lease Shuffle

Filed in Lifestyle, University News by on August 18, 2009 2 Comments

Moving into an apartment in Boston is a lot like forcing your forearm through a bread slicer: there’s a lot of physical pain, pain which, oddly enough, is secondary to the agonizing knowledge that you’re caught in an unbearably long bottleneck of prolonged suffering from which the only way out is to keep on pushing.

That is, if you are one of the thousands of people unfortunate enough to be stuck moving on September first. As classes resume at Boston’s myriad colleges in the fall, a fresh influx of students descends on the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, bringing with it an endless supply of vomit, backward hats, and exaggerated New Englander accents. To accommodate this spike in residency, leases tend to start in September. The result is an endless parade of cars, mattresses lashed tight to the roofs, stuck idling for hours along every paved surface within a thirty mile radius of the city.

When I first moved to Boston I was caught totally unaware by the torturous monotony of a four hour traffic jam. I got along well, and still do, with my father. But after four hours together, alone, in a car moving at an infinitesimal speed, with every conversation topic already exhausted on the ride just to reach this enormous hourglass of traffic, I was ready to get out and walk the rest of the way to my new apartment and just sleep on the empty floor, belongings be damned.

Thankfully, things were much different this year. Since the apartment I will be leasing come September was vacant, I was able to move everything into the new place this past weekend. While the humidity was oppressive, the traffic was, well, oppressive, but no more so than on an average day in the city.

To move a truckload of my amassed junk and another full load of my roommate’s took just a few hours. Open roads and an abundance of parking made the move entirely stress free. Devoid of the roiling kinetic claustrophobia brought on by a car ride from which there is no escape, I didn’t mind hoisting a bookcase onto my back like a turtleshell and trudging up a narrow, winding staircase.

My forearms still look like they’ve just passed through a bread slicer, scrapes and nicks and cuts and abrasions flaring in irregular pink lines across bruised veins from cradling all those armloads of boxes. Yet I’m content, and not even all that sore. I know that I avoided the worst of it, a September first move when there will surely be bumper to bumper traffic on every main road, sidestreet, and highway.

But if you aren’t so lucky, and you have to move on the first, pack a snack and some water, a book and some cards, and leave your house no later than four days in advance. You’ll still get stuck outside Natick, but at least you’ll save yourself some time.

Oh, and as for your car’s horn, I can assure you that it won’t make the other cars go anywhere faster. They’ll be just as boxed in as you. So please, don’t bother honking. It’s only a noisome nuisance, and I’d hate to be woken up by your boisterous impatience when I’m sleeping in late on the first of the month.

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  1. Julie says:

    You forgot to mention the inevitable out-of-state U-Haul truck stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive. Usually from Ohio.

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