Moving brings out the (fill in the blank) in me.

A person can learn a lot about herself by the way she handles moving.  Over these past few days of removing my belongings from one place and depositing them in another, several of the traits I like least about myself came marching along like those famous dwarfs carrying their going-to-work-tools. 

As I jockeyed for a parking spot and unloaded the car several times, I bumped smack into new-neighborhood patterns and when I finally sat down, exhausted, in the one chair that wasn’t piled with stuff, here they came, all the Moving Dwarfs: Impatient.  Tired.  Fussy.  Even a little bit Bossy.  Oh and turning the corner right now, here comes Whiny.  

On one my first trips from old house to new, I pulled up in front of this charming cottage in the canyon and a woman hurried toward me.  She didn’t say hello.  She said, “Are you moving in?”  (Note for later reference; at no time did her conversation include the question “Do you need any help?”)

I smiled and said yes.  She said, without a smile  (and I’m putting this at the top of my list of things never to begin a sentence with)  “Just so you know…”  She went on to tell me not to park in that spot – ever – because someone two houses down likes to use it.  Here’s another thing she said, and another way a person should never start a conversation with new neighbors:  “Around here….” 

I forget what rules of the neighborhood followed, but it doesn’t matter – the unwelcome was complete. 

What followed was the worst of me.  I responded crisply, with two words – “Duly noted”  – and trudged on past her.  Was that my grandmother’s voice I just heard coming out of my mouth?  The voice that used to say “Don’t take that tone with me little missy.” 

Now, days later, I remind myself that every neighborhood has at least one member of the greeting committee who lays down the rules.  It’s just that I don’t respond well to that kind of hello.  Instead of the me I like to think exists most of the time, the nice person who gives people the benefit of the doubt, I responded like one of the Moving Dwarfs listed above. 

After a strong cup of coffee and a glance outside through one of the many windows that add to the charm of this cottage, I am a different Dwarf:   Calm.  Even Contented.  

Outside my kitchen window, three giant redwood trees stand.  I am awed by them and filled with gratitude knowing that while I go about my everyday duties, such beauty stands sentry nearby. 

In front of the house, a pushy neighbor.  In back, the reason I moved here.

Ó Anita Garner 2009