Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Scenes from a Marriage: The Move-In

Nearly six months ago, on one of those beautiful summer days in my beloved city by the lake, I remember driving like a maniac on Lake Shore Drive sometime in the evening, trying to get to Midway. Bill was on one of his usual flights from Pittsburgh and I had promised to pick him up as he was lugging two suitcases that he claimed was nearly filled with books that I had left behind over the years. And of course, those were the days when I actually had a car. I managed to get to the airport in record time but there was no sign of Bill. I circled around a few times; I had checked status at home – the flight should have been in 20 minutes ago. I call a couple of people who tell me that the flight status comes up as “unavailable”. More circling around, more calling people, more cursing Bill’s stupid phone. I am pretty sure by now that the flight must have crashed while landing and open windows to hear sirens. No sirens either. I turn on NPR, no news of crash there. After about half an hour, Bill calls. I ask him about hell. Hell, he says is very much like Indianapolis. They were going to land in Midway when the weather turned bad and they were asked to circle for half an hour. But the pilot said that the plane did not have enough fuel to circle around, so he went on and landed at Indy! True story. So anyway, a few hours later (32 minutes for fueling at Indy, 27 minutes from there into Midway, 94 minutes to find checked baggage, 12 minutes from Midway to home), we were finally back in Lincoln Park. Now this part, I remember very clearly. Bill said that since the suitcases were full of my books, I had to help him carry them up the stairs and then go park my car. The innocent person that I am, I believed him and helped him lug 50 kg suitcases up the stairs. Once upstairs, I excitedly opened suitcases to see what books he had gotten.

1. Towards Truth through Proof: A study of Mathematical Logic by Peter Andrews
2. Proofs and Types by Jean-Yves Girard
3. The Intel Architecture Reference Manual

The suitcases were full of such nonsense. I refused to talk to Bill for the next couple of says, something that he was very happy about as I couldn’t order him about if I wasn’t talking. What’s the point of all this now? What of recent happenings? Yes, yes, I am coming to that. This is only to provide you with some context.

So yes, we are in London. Finally. Long posts that will follow in no particular order: (once I manage to get some broadband provider to provide me with bandwidth. Yeah, this is pilfered from (I think) the guy who lives two floors down. He so looks the sort who doesn’t secure his wireless network):

1. Russian snow in Trafalgar Square and other such stories (A MR special edition)
2. The hottest lunch joints in town – Sainsbury’s Local and Mark & Spencers
3. How to find a London flat in 48 hours (A 48 hours exclusive)
4. Chinna vengaya sambar at Harrow on the Hill (Thanks to Our Lady of the Shoes)
5. How the grass is actually greener on this side of the Atlantic. (Literally)
6. A study of behavioral differences between the geese of Lincoln Park and that of Regents Park - A Ludwig-inspired ornithological exercise

Getting back to our move to London, I had one suitcase (21 kgs) and a small (by American standards) roller-blade suitcase while Bill had two humungous suitcases that he had paid excess baggage for in addition to one piece of cabin luggage which weighed as much as my check-in suitcase. (He squarely blamed it all on United which always lets people get away with at least twice as much as they are supposed to carry) I refused to carry his suitcases up three flights of stairs and into our tiny flat when he started talking about how these suitcases really contain the books the other suitcases that he had gotten to Chicago were supposed to. You know, it was all packed a few months ago but he had mistakenly lugged the wrong suitcases to Chicago then. So I asked him to unpack and show me the books. He pointed out that we were arguing on the pavement and if only I would help him lug it up, he could show me. I wasn’t giving up so easily. I dragged it through the front door and asked him to open it there. Not pavement anymore. New excuse. They are packed so tightly that if you open them, they cannot be closed very easily. I said that if it didn’t close I would personally take all my books up and all he has to do then is to close empty suitcases. By now, he apparently had forgotten the combination. After about 20 minutes of letting everyone in the building know that the new tenants have arrived, I gave up and lugged them through three, yes, three flights of stairs.

Next twenty minutes, I divided all the storage in the flat (two chest of drawers, one excuse for a closet) and magnanimously told Bill that he could take one-third.

“One-third? Hello? I live here. I need half.”

“No, one-third is all you get. I want to see you fit stuff from your suitcases in this space”

“FYI, I pay rent too, you know”

“If we talking how much you are paying, you should get only a quarter as that’s the part of rent you pay. I am just being nice to you”

“Yeah, right”


“Anyway, its not like you need all that space. You have only one tiny suitcase as you keep reminding me”

“Right now, yes. But I do not trust you to remove your stuff from the drawers when the boxes arrive from the States. You have to make do with this, I am sorry”

And I sat down to watch the fun. Bill opens the smaller of his two suitcases.

“What’s all that?”


“One. Two. Three. Four. How many do you have?”

“Mmm..Seven, I think”

“You have seven suits?”

“That’s what I said, yes”

“I am the bloody consultant in this house and I do not own seven suits”

“Yeah, some fake consulting company you work for. Wearing jeans to work half the time”

“As opposed to you who really works in an i-bank but masquerades as a student? Where do you have all the money stashed away?”

“What nonsense are you talking?”

“Nonsense? Hello, I want to know why you need seven suits. The only time I have ever seen you wear a suit was during the wedding tamasha”

“Just because you haven’t seen me wear them doesn’t mean I don’t wear them”

“Yeah? When was the last time you wore a suit?”

“Don’t remember”

“My point”

“Come off it. I do not have any space to keep these. Give me some space”

“No. You have two choices. Keep them in the suitcase or give it away to charity. I saw some collection for cerebral palsy a few blocks away”

“You are mad”

“Whatever. You decide what you want to do with them”

He puts them back in the suitcase.

“Ah, ties! How many of those do you have?”


“Of course. What other useless things do you have in the suitcase?”

“Hello? I am not the one who has twenty two pairs of shoes around here”

“First of all, I do not have twenty two pairs of shoes. If you remember, I threw away six pairs while we were packing in Chicago. As of now, I technically own only sixteen”

“Like that changes anything”

“Besides the point. The point is I wear all my sixteen pairs of shoes. Atleast once a year. The shoes I do not use, I do NOT put them in suitcases, pay excess baggage and drag them halfway across the world and then throw them away because there isn’t any space”


“CDs? I thought you put all your CDs in boxes that you mailed to Chicago”

“These were some I forgot to pack”

“I see”

“Beethoven – Three Piano sonatas?”


“Whats this now? Bach’s Brandenburg concertos?”

“What? Can’t you read?”

“Hm..Handel, Vivaldi, Brahms. Oh wait, there’s more. Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Liszt.”

“You have a problem with my music now?”

“No, I am just counting how many CDs you have that you have never listened to.”

“What? I listen to them all the time.”

“Yeah, yeah, if you say the truth you will be disowned from your pretentious Bong community”

“Why are you dragging Bong community into this now?”

“Okay. Just pretentious you then. How come you have 32 of these? Were this on sale at a dollar each?”

“You know what? I have had enough. Can you go away somewhere while I finish unpacking?”

“No, because I pay three-quarters of the rent. And because I am having way too much fun watching you unpack. Let me go get some popcorn now. Be right back.”


ggop said...

Why does every move in arguement sound the same to me :-)

Falstaff said...

See, I was on your side till you started on the CDs. But you can't expect someone to leave Bach's Brandenburg concertos behind when they move.

Veena said...

ggop: Really? You divided the storage based on the amt of rent each of you pay? Hmm.

Falstaff: Not the point. The point was him lugging CDs that he doesn't listen to. If he were a true Bach lover, obviously I am all for carrying and paying excess baggage and all that.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

One applauds the Return of the Bride. And settles back to watch her Kill Bill.

A minor point - why don't you just give away all your books when you move? Ahem!


Anoop R said...

Aha, welcome back. Some of this should be on the Bride blog since it's the first time you will actually be living together. Too bad you announced its closure with the final post!

Are you receiving calls these days from your Stateside friends? You should blog about that and shame them into calling!