Living In a Cardboard Box

I’m an early bird – a country girl – a chicken keeper, so while visiting family in Manhattan, up before everyone, I snuck out in the early morning and walked down the street to a grocer only to find that I was fifteen minutes early for even that. So, I parked my fanny on the window ledge to wait – right beside a huge pile of cardboard recycling.

I must have accidentally tapped the cardboard box beside me with my foot or bag or something, but I woke up the resident within. First, the cardboard piled up at the other end began to shuffle, then a man crept out from within and under. He stretched, yawned, and smiled. So I smiled back, nodded to his box and said, “you sleep well?” to which he responded, “like a baby.” We struck up a comfortable conversation and soon, I learned that he was from my own fair state of Virginia. Richmond, to be precise.

Now, I’m all about the aesthetics of one’s home. I truly believe d├ęcor has an effect on how we think and feel. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose to live out of a cardboard box when right across the street, there was a magnificent piece of architecture, probably 8 stories, boarded up. Surely he could have pried something loose to sleep the night in there. He said, no, there was safety on the street. So why, I asked, didn’t whoever own it, fix it up? It was a great building with nice architectural detail, and it was inhabited by hundreds of pigeons. The man explained that it wasn’t worth renovation. He astounded me with an in-depth explanation about how its foundation had been built over a river. It was very unstable below, and he explained this while pointing around the corner where there was, sure enough, a culvert and creek that disappeared under the corner of the structure. Wow!

Right about now, I’m really envying the man who could find comfort in a cardboard box. I’m packing for my family’s “big” move across town. There is absolutely no reason that a family of just four people, (soon to be a family of six,) should have this much stuff or require this many cardboard boxes to move.

I’m packing up the laundry room now and there’s a mantra going through my head, “move, yard sale, trash, move, yard sale, trash.” I’m averaging one “yard sale” box and two trash bags for every three “move” boxes. Surely, I can do better than that? Because for every “move” box, I’m going to have to, eventually, (gulp,) MOVE that thing.


  1. Too funny, and at the same time, what a sad commentary on all the "stuff" we all gather with an almost-rabid fervor. I think I might do some stuff-weeding myself over the weekend!


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