March 1, 2006
0800: Arise. Peruse classifieds. Have sixteen hours to vacate present quarters. Motivated.
0859: Under the Defensible Margin-Of-Error clause in the Phone Decency Rule, begin dialing one minute prior to 9am. Arrange to see tiny apartment in Marathon. $800/month. Utilities included. Water view. Technically visible by clicking here.
0902: Depart Summerland Key abruptly, in the manner of the Batmobile.
0927: Look at apartment. It’s the size of a smallish hotel room, and features a freestanding refrigerator, new stove and cement floor. It’s very small.
0928: We offer to sign a lease. It is ours. Later discussions result in “The Dorm Room” narrowly edging “Former Congressman’s Private Cell at Federal Golf Prison” as a handle for the place.
1000: Fortified with celebratory con leches, we return to Summerland to begin packing.
1030: First remark along the lines of “WE HAVEN’T BOUGHT ANYTHING IN SIX MONTHS! HOW DO WE HAVE MORE SHIT THAN WE DID WHEN WE LEFT CHICAGO?” made.
1222: Resume packing. Remember that laundry, after today, will not be free. Curse the inventor of coin-operated laundry facilities, and begin angrily separating white from colored.
1328: Load truck. Final tally: Two sets golf clubs, two bikes, three boxes, one cooler, four suitcases, two laptop bags, one briefcase, one steamer trunk, and two bags of warm-from-the-dryer clothes.
1358: Arrive back at the Dorm Room. Unload truck into empty room.
1446: Room now at 67% capacity. We sit down on chaise lounge outside and make list of “Needs”.
1500: “Needs” list, verbatim: (Comedy-related items in bold) Toilet paper, plates, mugs, garbage can, bed, towels, lamp, food, fridge thermometer, saran wrap, vodka.
1517: Offhand remark made while walking to car: “Jeez. This neighborhood is crawling with cats.” In the movie of my life, this remark will be accompanied by a chord indicating “ironic foreshadowing”.
1520: Groceries obtained and returned to Dorm Room. Slowness with which refrigerator is cooling down to food-storage safety zone noted, and incorrectly identified as “quirky” rather than the more accurate “ominous”. Relax, and begin unpacking.
1600: Realize with a start that there may be no bed stores open later than five. Begin frenzied effort to find futon in Marathon.
1607: Fred’s Beds — motto: “Selling faux-tropical furniture to rich visitors since 1987!” — recommended repeatedly by new landlord and neighbors. Fred’s cheapest futon: $399.
1610: “Furniture Now!” No futons.
1614: Island Furniture. No futons.
1618: Salvation Army. No futons.
1620: Marathon Beds & Furniture. Sign in window, 100-point type: “WE HAVE FUTONS!”. Despite posted business hours of 9am-7pm, store is closed.
1627: D’Asigns Home Decor. Futons aplenty. Frames carved from unicorn bone by unionized artisans, mattresses woven by hand from the hair of blonde angels. Prices available by appointment. At Sotheby’s.
1635: Salvation Army dumpster. No futons.
1640: Emergency team meeting. Subject: “Is It Worth Driving Seventy Miles To Super Wal-Mart To Save $300?” The board votes unanimously. The Tundra is pointed north, toward Florida City.
1800: Arrive Florida City. Hunger pangs soothed, pre-shopping, with Sonny’s Barbecue.
1850: Enter Florida City Super Wal-Mart, which is considerably bigger than the terminal at Key West International Airport. Seek futons.
1903: Manager of Furniture Section, who has names and dates tattooed on his neck, tells us that the reason we cannot find any futons is that “they must all be gone.” He recommends we wait around until 10pm, when they will unload the day’s two trucks. He does not promise that there will be a futon on them. If this man were an officious little floor twit at, say, Marshall Field’s, there would be an argument. However, because I cannot determine whether or not his neck memorializes beloved family members or successful drive-bys, I choose not to debate the issue of whether or not it is possible to determine what’s on the truck before the appointed offloading hour.
1910: On our way to the door, while discussing our hotel options and debating bagging the whole thing and moving back to Chicago, Honey bumps — literally — into a mid-aisle sale display: $99 futons.
1912: We get two carts: One for the futon, and one for: Two plates, two cups, two thermal coffee mugs, two forks, two knives, two spoons, One towel, one bathmat, one comforter, one fitted sheet, one Batman pillowcase, one Pyrex mixing bowl/casserole dish, one bamboo cutting board, two translucent plastic chests of drawers, one kitchen garbage can, one package scrubbing sponges, one bottle dish detergent, and one laundry hamper. We decide that we can each blow $25 on something nice for the Dorm Room, and split up.
1930: We meet at the registers. Added to the carts from the Honey side: One folding makeup table, one furry pillow to sit on at the makeup table, and one Gwen Stefani poster. I went off looking for inspiration, and I found this. On sale for $28. God, once again, has my back.