Lost Journal: Helping a Brother is a Moving Experience

Journal entry: June 22, 2009 (age 40) – Helping a Brother

I knew I had to call my brother Dan tonight, because he and a friend, Steve Fedorchak, had taken the day off to help my brother Bob move, which nearly guaranteed a good story. Dan is only slightly exaggerating when he says that he has helped Bob move “37 times.” Bob’s ever-changing living arrangements have earned him the latest in a long series of nicknames. When Dan answered the phone, I inquired, “How did it go today when you spirited Bob Bin Laden to his new lair?”

Steve is an old friend of Dan’s who has become close to our entire family over the years. He’s been such a loyal and helpful friend, my dad sometimes refers to him as his seventh son. As co-owner of the Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Va., where Bob works as a manager, Steve is also Bob’s boss. But today, he was half of Bob’s moving crew.

Bob is non-materialistic to the point of being monastic, so Dan and Steve figured they could fit all his belongings into a borrowed pickup truck. But once they schlepped everything down to the loading dock of his old apartment building, they realized they had underestimated. The now-required second trip meant that some belongings would have to sit unattended for a few hours. Bob easily identified his priorities for the first load – his bed and his TV. Surveying the items that would have to wait, Dan helpfully observed that even garbage-pickers would probably not be interested in Bob’s almost-empty bottle of ketchup, or his official NFL jersey – his official NFL Michael Vick jersey.

Next the trio of amateur Teamsters faced the problem of where to fit themselves in the vehicle. The TV took up one of the three seats in the cab of the truck, so someone would have to ride in the back. Since they had neglected to bring any bungee cords or rope, the rear passenger would serve a second purpose – holding onto the mattress so that it wouldn’t fly off into traffic. So Bob laid down on the box spring, and the mattress was laid over him like a lean-to. The two legs and one arm that stuck out between the two sleep slabs made for a rather disturbing picture in the exposed back of the truck. Most people would have bristled at the indignity of such an arrangement. Bob saw it as a chance to take a nap.

The trip from Alexandria to Arlington is only about six miles. But a traffic jam on the George Washington Parkway turned it into an hour-long slog of stops and starts. At one point, a panicked-looking woman pulled up alongside and motioned for Dan to unroll his window. “There’s a man in the back of your truck, and it looks like he’s in trouble!” Dan smiled casually and replied, “Oh, no problem, ma’am. That’s my brother.” The woman’s face briefly registered relief, and then morphed back to fearful confusion as she drove off.

As they continued their crawl towards the new abode of Bachelor Bob, Steve shook his head. “This isn’t going very well.” “Yeah,” said Dan, “I’m kinda hoping it starts raining.”

Tim Mollen
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