Monday, April 2, 2007

Loose Ends (Part 1)

Saturday. 8 AM. Three hours of sleep and a slight hangover remind me I'm alive. The sun is shining, and the morning air is cool and crisp. Ahead is at least six hours of driving, three destinations, pickups, dropoffs, logistics, timing. My nine months of life in Pennylvania has left me with the occasional need to make a trip to the country to retrieve possessions or deal with loose ends. Today is a grandiose effort to handle a slew of these loose ends in a single trip.

The coffee, black, strong, finishes brewing. As I sip it I regard the scrawled list cautiously. The list is the only thing that can prevent critical oversights or errors that might doom this trip. Given its importance, I curse my own atrocious handwriting as I try to decipher one of the entries. Such lists are how I organize my life - things that need doing, stuff that needs buying, calls that need making. If I think of something and fail to add it to a list, the chances of it getting done in any reasonable amount of time (or at all) drop precipitously. So I have trained myself to either write down something I need to remember, or send myself an email from my phone, ensuring I'll be reminded when I'm next in front of a computer. It's a reasonably effective strategy, with the possible exception of not understanding my own shorthand.

After some scrutiny, the scawls resolve into words: "phone number." What phone number? Ah yes - David, the luthier who is supposed to be the third stop today. I need to call him when I'm in the vicinity, when hopefully he'll be home. He has finished repairing my acoustic guitar, a 1993 Martin D-16H that suffers from the incredibly dry air in my apartment, as well as my occasional neglect. This trip brings me within scant miles of his Boiling Springs, PA shop, two hours from Washington. But the timing is dicey, because he isn't sure what time he'll be home. With a little luck, though, I should be able to finish my second stop in Carlisle to pick up my pressure washer, have lunch, hope that David's gotten home by that time, and retrieve the axe and be on my way.

The rest of the list involves things I need to pick up from the last stop in Gettysburg. The primary goal of this trip is to get my barbecue grill, which has been occupying a rather significant footprint in Mark's garage for some time, and bring it to Tyler's house. I don't have anywhere of my own to use the grill, and Tyler just moved to a new home. So it seemed the perfect solution: Tyler takes the grill, Mark gets his garage back. Beyond that, there are a number of other things to retrieve: the gallons of used motor oil I left in Mark's garage, some ancient computer equipment that needs to be disposed of, some music stuff, and a bunch of odds and ends that I had been missing.

There's a general theme to this trip, which is cleanup. During my time living in Gettysburg, as a guest of my good friend, I managed to spread my possessions throughout his house -- not to mention the greater central Pennsylvania region. Now, after six months in DC, I've mostly settled in and established my life. Things are in order in DC, but I left a legacy of chaos in PA that needs dealing with, and frustrates my general desire to avoid loose ends. I have been feeling guilty about leaving this mess around - so it was time to take some steps towards cleaning it up.

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