Truckin’ – Part One of Two

– by Michael!

The plan was simple. Pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

Plans are funny things.

Every May, we at the Chautauqua Opera Company load up the office’s computers and files and take them from Manhattan to the Chautauqua Institution, just east of Lake Erie. It’s about seven hours if you obey speed limits, or if you don’t obey them and take a long lunch instead, so it’s a fairly simple day’s drive. Since I started here in 2012, it’s been one of my tasks to pick up the truck and take care of the driving – honestly, it’s something I enjoy doing, and it saves us money over hiring somebody else to take care of it.

But it’s never quite as simple as it really ought to be.

Once Joanie and I found sublettors for our place, we decided we should take more of our stuff to CHQ than we’d planned in order to give them some extra room – so the plan became pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to 212th and Broadway, load up Michael/Joanie’s stuff, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

With that said, Gabe – my coworker in the office – asked (perfectly reasonably) if we could make a pit stop at his place, as it’s on the way uptown and he also was bringing more than originally planned. No worries. The plan was now to pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to 151st and Broadway, pick up Gabe’s stuff, drive to 212th and Broadway, load up Michael/Joanie’s stuff, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

Jay, our boss, asked if I could do him a huge favor. He had an appliance at his place in the Valley that he wanted to relocate to his place at Chautauqua, and would I be willing to drive up and load it so he didn’t have to squeeze it into his SUV? Sure thing! I’m a can-do kinda guy, and I like my boss, so the prospect of having a meal at his place on my way out to Chautauqua was a pleasant one.

The plan, at this point, had become pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to 151st and Broadway, pick up Gabe’s stuff, drive to 212th and Broadway, load up Michael/Joanie’s stuff, drive to the Valley, pick up Jay’s stuff, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

The week before the move, another company member who lives in our neighborhood asked if I could take a couple of heavy items for him. Since he lives across the street from me, it really wasn’t any trouble to add him to the circuit – so now I’m planning to pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to 151st and Broadway, pick up Gabe’s stuff, drive to 215th, pick up my friend’s stuff, drive to 212th and Broadway, load up Michael/Joanie’s stuff, drive to the Valley, pick up Jay’s stuff, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

The day of the move itself, one of the singers came to help with the office. As she did so we discussed the fact that she was between housing situations, crashing on couches, carrying around a lot of luggage. So, logically, we amended the plan.

Pick up the truck, go to the office, load up the office, drive to 125th and Broad, pick up her stuff, drive to 151st and Broadway, pick up Gabe’s stuff, drive to 215th, pick up my friend’s stuff, drive to 212th and Broadway, load up Michael/Joanie’s stuff, drive to the Valley, pick up Jay’s stuff, drive to Chautauqua, come home.

What had originally been a nine-hour process had become a two-day plan stretching all the way up Manhattan and into the Valley beyond!

We actually managed to dodge the rain during the loading phases, which was good. However, I did get to contend with the rain as I made my way up the Valley to Jay’s place, which was NOT so good. Add to this the fact that I had to take a state highway – stoplights and all – due to the fact that all expressways heading north from Manhattan are for passenger cars only, and you have a three-hour drive up the Valley turning into a five/six hour drive up the Valley.

However, I finally arrived. Jay and I got everything loaded (finally), he cooked a wonderful meal to reward our Herculean efforts, and I woke up bright and early the next day, ready to complete the final – and easiest – steps of the plan:

Drive to Chautauqua, unload the truck, come home.

Of course, plans are funny things…

(to be continued)

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