Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Movers and the Moth

It was 2004 and I had gone back to England for two weeks to help my brother Robert move Mum from the two story home she was living in, to a perfect little ground floor flat in the same village.

Robert and I had a lifetime of gathered belongings to sort through and condense into a much smaller space, while Mum, blissfully unconcerned with all of this, patiently waited for the move.

I persuaded Robert that it might be a good idea, even though Mum's final quota of belongings was small, to get help in the form of a moving company.

We settled on movers called Mike and Al. Their advertisement in the phone book sounded so promising. "No job too large or too small," it boasted.

From the moment I made contact with "Mike" though, something in his voice gave a different impression to the enthusiastic advertisement. In fact, I wasn't sure that he really wanted to do this job, although he didn't come right out and say so.

When I pressed him for a quote, saying that we didn't really have a lot to move, he said, "That's what everybody says and when we get there it is a lot."

"Okay," I thought, "That's probably true, often," but it didn't seem like a very promising start to our moving relationship.

On moving day, they arrived. Each was driving a small, shiny, red moving van, one larger than the other, just like them.

Robert and I felt uncomfortably as if we were in the middle of a family argument as Mike and Al bickered with each other from the start, arguing over how items should be lifted or carried and how the move was to go.

Mum's antique china cabinet, which had belonged to Oma in Holland, had twin owls on each of two wooden spires. We asked Mike and Al to be especially careful with these. Inevitably one of the owls was broken off. It resides in a drawer of the china cabinet to this day.

Because the front door was open, a moth or butterfly fluttered in and when Mike spotted it, he said, "Is that a moth, or a butterfly? Only I've got a phobia about moths."

A phobia I could understand, although I did ask if he was really serious. But what, I wondered, was the difference between a moth and a butterfly when it came to a phobia about things fluttering?

At that point, Al came in and asked the same question about the thing on the wall. Apparently he had the same phobia.

And just in case that you ever need this piece of information, the answer was, "Moths fly at you in the face. Butterflies are frightened of you and fly away."

So good to know!

4 comments:

Leslie said...

I think many people have a "movers" story! You should collect them all and write a book. Wow, a moth phobia.

Greta said...

I totally agree about moth fears. I finally have come to 'enjoy' them if they are on the other side of a pane of glass and I can see their big eyes and furry faces but they can't get to me.

Belinda Burston said...

Leslie, that would be a fun collection of stories. What a great idea!

Belinda Burston said...

Greta, my mover friends have someone who understands! :) The way you describe them almost makes me want to run in the opposite direction too! :)