A History of Moving
As are most things with the human race, moving is a constantly developing practice. It has gone through several changes over the centuries. I have been contemplating this odd behavior for the past few days, and I’d like to herewith examine the progress we’ve made as a species in the moving department.
As cavemen, moving was a non-issue. You’d pick up your blunt object, whack your neighbor with it, and start sleeping and eating in his cave. This may have been the simplest type of move humankind has ever known. Ahh, the good ol’ days…
As nomadic tribes, moving was part of everyday life. You never really unpacked your stuff, because your stuff consisted mainly of a tent or similar structure, some furs, and some nifty bone or stone tools. This may not have been as bad as it sounds because you never expected to settle down either. I’m slowly beginning to surrender to this idea as well.
During the Dark Ages, people would pack all of their things in a small handbag by waving a magic wand and singing a bunch of nonsense words. Or so is my understanding from intense study of The Sword in the Stone. I would totally go for this method if I could only find my wand. I must have already packed it somewhere.
Around the 12th Century, you’d just drop all of your crap and try to get away from the Mongols. They were coming for you man, so you had to get booking. While this option had to be exciting and can’t have involved a whole lot of preparation, it falls lower on my list of preferred moving options.
In 14th Century Europe (the time of the Bubonic plague) you’d sometimes die before you started packing, which saved a lot of trouble. Most people probably didn’t move though, because they were trying to avoid human contact; as long as they didn’t die where they lived, they were doing better than a lot of their neighbors.
17th Century – you’d pack up only your most precious belongings, take a several-month-long cruise on a ship across the ocean, living off rancid food, unpredictable weather, and shipmates with horrible morning breath, only to reach your destination where you had to build your own dwelling and probably die there during the winter. I’m afraid I’m not much of a gambler, so I don’t think I would have enjoyed this option either.
19th Century United States involved a brisk walk for hundreds of miles in shoes that probably didn’t fit right, decades before Dr. Scholl ever went to med school. The weather was harsh, the diseases were deadly, and the roads weren’t paved. Many even had to pull or push the carts containing their possessions under their own power. I have nightmares after playing The Oregon Trail, so I probably wouldn’t have done too well going this route in real life.
I suppose comparatively the present day practice of moving is significantly less of a hassle and risk of life and limb than it has been throughout most of history. I really shouldn’t whine as much as I do, but I’ll probably still let out a couple of whimpers and pouts over the next week. Please bear with me.