What Good Are Notebooks?

This is what my last four apartments have looked like.

Four times, now, I’ve stood in the middle of my room, looked at all the stuff in it, said, “Fuck, why do I own all this shit?”, and then started to dismantle it, piece by piece, and put it into boxes.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape when it comes to not being like somebody from Hoarders. I’ve got no problem throwing useless shit away, and I don’t bring things home just because they’re free. Not only do I refrain from keeping stacks of newspapers in my house, I go one step further and refrain from reading newspapers in the first place. I don’t even start to put myself at risk.

But then, when the time comes to put my whole room into boxes and take it home with me, I start to regard my lifestyle with the same sense of exasperated bewilderment as we reserve for the people on TV who bottle and catalogue their own urine for years at a time, just in case they need it.

For example, I’ve been trucking the same box full of notebooks back and forth up and down I-5 for four years now. Nevermind that I don’t take notes in the first place, or that handwriting is both a laborious and painful process for me – at least I know where they are in case I need them, right?

Well, no, actually, because every year I forget that I have a box full of notebooks until I’m moving, when I open the box, see that it’s full of notebooks, and think, “Huh. Box full of notebooks. I should put this in a blog.”

I think a lot of my problem is that I tend to store things in cardboard boxes. And when I say cardboard boxes, I mean the boxes that I moved them in. And when I say ‘store’, I really mean, ‘bring the box from the car into my room, set it down, and leave it there for nine months, unopened, until I pick it up and take it back out to the car.’

Of course, it would make more sense to unpack everything and put it up on shelves or in drawers, but I don’t have any shelves or drawers because if I bought them I’d just have to assemble and disassemble them every time I moved, and who wants to go through all that nonsense when you can just have a desk surrounded by boxes and live like you’re in a refugee camp?

Really, nowhere I’ve lived for the past four years has felt like home, because every time I’ve moved into a place, I’ve done so with the knowledge that I’ll be moving out in nine months.

As a freshman, I knew I didn’t want to live in the dorms next year, because the only guys who spend a second year in the dorms are the ones who stand awkwardly by the bathroom and try to hit on the towel clad girls going in to take showers – not that there’s anything wrong with that; I just prefer to be a more subtle type of pervert.

As a sophomore, I lived in a decrepit quad with management whose heads were lodged so firmly up their own asses that they probably felt more at home inside their rectums than I did in the dirt cheap fleabag room I was reluctantly inhabiting.

As a junior, I lived in a three story townhouse that was just as luxurious and perfect for parties as it was insanely expensive, requiring me to spend at least two hours a day fretting about how much of my college fund I was pissing away to rent an apartment with a walk in closet to store my 16 T shirts and two pairs of shoes.

And this year, I live in a closetlike alcove in a duplex miles away from campus, and while it’s nice enough, I’m graduating. The only way I’d live here a second year with no scholastic obligation to stay in Eugene would be if my roommates were replaced by three Christina Hendrickses, in which case I’d spend every day standing awkwardly by the bathroom and trying to hit on them as they went in to take showers.

I never make an effort to make my living space truly livable because my housing is always temporary. I’ll go to Ikea and get all excited about the classy, super efficient model studio units they’ve got set up all over the place, but then I think about how much setup time must’ve gone into creating that tiny Scandinavian paradise. I mean, an Ikea dresser weighs more than an aircraft carrier and requires a degree in engineering to build (plus a degree in hieroglyphics to read the fucking instructions) – who wants to go through all that mess every nine months?

But in LA,* I’ve found a place where I can see myself living for a long time – a place where my roommates are as nerdy and anal retentive as I am, where cute girls reportedly live upstairs, where there is a restaurant nearby that sells deep fried tacos.

*Yeah, that’s right, assholes, I am talking about LA again. I used to talk about marching band or Battlestar Galactica - at least my new fixation doesn’t immediately cockblock me like the old ones did.

I’m going to hit up an Ikea (if they even have those down there) and start grabbing every piece of umlauted furniture I can find, because I’m tired of living out of boxes. I want to have a grown up house for my grown up life, even if my grown up life includes a poster of a painting of robots and humans swordfighting.*

*Not cockblocking myself online, you see, frees me up to cockblock myself in real life.

Will furnishing an apartment make me feel at home in a new city? Maybe. Will surrounding myself with heavy, near immobile furniture prevent me from turning tail and moving back to Oregon as soon as the going gets tough? Definitely.

Make your laziness work for you, people.

Truman Capps becomes a college graduate tomorrow, by the way.