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Moving Folks

Schlepping furniture three flights up and other misadventures

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: October 14, 2002


Moving Folks


For one reason or another, I?m always the first guy to say, ?Hey I?ll help you move.? I could have some renegade do-gooder DNA that somehow overrides my brain, causing me to offer my help before I actually think about it.

I have had some horrific moving experiences of my own. The most memorable was when after college I finally had enough money from my first post-college job to move out of the barrio and into a modern townhouse. The saying goes ?You can take the boy out of the barrio but you can?t take the barrio out of the boy? rang true in the motley crew I assembled for the move. Axiomatically, since I was from there, so were my helpmates.

The crew led by my biker-brother loaded up one truck. The other truck was piloted by my brother-in-law. Everything was done decently and in order. A huge amount of suds was the eventual reward for a job well done at the final destination, the new Townhouse.

After seven hours of waiting at the new place, my brother?s truck finally showed up, with a completely different crew. Another half-hour later, the brother-in-law truck shows up, with someone who looked like my brother-in-law driving but with the demeanor of Tommy Chong. I was humiliated to find that my furniture was paraded all over town, yet honored that there were a few decent offers on some of my stuff.

Why is it when someone asks if you can help them move a few things they always lie about stairs?

One thing I have always taught my sons is that it is a man's obligation to help a woman in distress. There are some things that men can do because of their physicality that women cannot. High on this list is schlepping furniture. Much to the chagrin of each one of my boys I have taken them on moving assignments. I want to teach them by example that sometimes you have to help people out for free because it is the right thing to do.

They still throw in my face the time we helped this single mother who lived on the third floor with no elevator with very few things packed. She had an enormous book collection that, half way through the torturous slaves-building- the-pyramids move, confessed that she does not read them -- she just collects them. At that point I gave the youngest the authority to eat her parrot if he wanted to in lieu of the dozens of donuts that were promised but marginally delivered.

Helping single mothers move is also a good way to teach your sons what happens to women and children after a break up. The man, the coward, who left the woman in distress leaving the do-good movers the tough job -- and his Mama -- are always topics of heated conversation between reluctant movers, especially when you have to heave a sofa up three flights of stairs. The professional mover?s credo being: ?Scrape your knuckles not the furniture.?

These life experiences teach young men two valuable lessons. When couples with kids break up, people?s lives are shattered and often have to rely on the goodness of others to help them out. The other lesson being, never buy a pick up truck. This can also help ruin your life because everybody will always asks you to help them move and if you say no, the women will sit around the kitchen table and talk trash about you.

With all this being said, I still never learn. Today, I just returned from moving a Hammond B-3 organ with a Leslie speaker. We took it from a house to a storage facility in a van with the seats yanked out. The storage space was located on a second floor. We used a forklift to get it up and in, and then I was gone, having the foresight to ride my motorcycle to the job.

I used to be a big fan of the Hammond B-3 organ, especially when Chester Thompson of Santana or Roger Smith of Tower of Powers plays it, until I carried one.

There is a saying, ?Only keep the friends who help you move.?

From now on, I sincerely hope I am not one of them.





About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a weekly columnist who doesn't own a truck.




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