Smile Politely

Why U-Haul sucks

Wow, I’m really glad last week is over, as it was quite a bitch for a fella like myself. Part of it was really great because my mom officially moved to town and it will be cool to hang out with her on a regular basis. The other part of it wasn’t so great because she also decided she’d like to bring along her possessions and I was given the task of moving them. Moving is a real rat bastard.

As I plan to spend the rest of this column bitching about this move, I won’t go into it much at the beginning, so let’s just go ahead and get it on.


The move began officially on Friday morning in Champaign. My mom was living in Newton, Illinois, so yes — it doesn’t make much sense to start in Champaign, except we had to go to Mattoon to pick up the U-Haul truck. Yes, it’s sort of confusing, but I’ll try to explain.

We reserved a truck in Newton about a month ago for this particular day, but we were informed on Wednesday that they no longer had a truck in Newton and were not expecting one by Friday. Apparently, U-Haul doesn’t really grasp the concept of what reservations actually are. Making a reservation is simply a little social nicety they like to go through, even though it evidently doesn’t mean dick to anyone.

Regardless, we picked the U-Haul up in Mattoon. Yes, I was pissed, but what was I going to do? We needed a truck that day so we were sort of at their mercy. I’m not sure if U-Haul has a slogan, but if they don’t, “U-Haul: You don’t have much of a fucking choice!” might be something to consider.


It took about an hour and a half to check out the truck out in Mattoon. Yes, it’s a long time, but it was really sort of fast when you consider that the person checking us out had apparently never used a freaking computer in his freaking life. I mean, when you look at it that way, an hour and a half is actually sort of impressive.

Either way, I eventually climbed into this behemoth of a vehicle and began to make my way to Newton. Yes, the truck was hard to drive, especially if you didn’t want it to roll over. It also drank gasoline and shook so badly it displaced a few of my internal organs. None of these things mattered that much though, because I mostly focused on finding a radio station on the shitty little radio that was in the truck.

Allow me to say that there are not many radio stations for me to listen to these days, particularly if I don’t want to just give up and throw myself from my vehicle. Country music is not country music anymore. “Talk radio” should really be called “yell radio.” Listening to someone read a list of the garage sales in town over the weekend really doesn’t allow me to pass the time in a way I would like. I eventually settled on classic rock.

Journey’s “Wheel in the Sky” sucked me in initially. Sure, it wasn’t great, but it was better than the alternatives. After that song, I was informed that I was listening to Z-98, where the Z stands for Zeppelin, and that nobody plays more Zeppelin than Z-98. I found this comforting and exciting, even though I didn’t hear one goddamned Led Zeppelin song the entire five hours I was on the station.

Still, I was encouraged to “lock it in and rip the knob off,” which actually wouldn’t have been that hard in that cheap-assed U-Haul crapwagon. Anyway, eventually I found myself smack dab in the fucking middle of a Kansas “rock block.” Fortunately, I got to hear “Point of No Return” and “Carry On My Wayward Son” before they played “Dust in the Wind,” at which point I shut the damned thing off for five minutes.


Eventually, I made it to Newton and loaded most of the truck. I had to wait until after school for this high school kid we had hired to come and help me move the large stuff. He showed up and initially seemed ridiculously tiny for a mover. Once we got started though, it became clear that he was freakishly strong and did not sweat or bitch nearly as much as I did. It’s sort of nice to see someone before his spirit is broken.

After a quick two-hour drive back to Champaign, it was time to rest before the second part of the move on Saturday. I drank a gallon of water and swallowed a bottle of Aleve as if they were pistachios. Surprisingly, most of my joints and tendons still worked and I was up and at ‘em early the next day.

I got a bunch of buddies to help me with the move in town, just to make my job easier and also because I enjoy seeing people pull muscles. Most of that move went quickly and then it was pretty much over. I quickly took all the movers out for beers in an effort to get them too intoxicated to realize how sore they were going to be.

Usually, when you look back on something like that, it seems sort of rewarding and actually kind of fun. I’m not sure if that will ever be the case with this particular event, but I can probably answer that question better once I’m able to walk upright again.


Okay, normally I hate commercials. Also, normally I sort of like Brad Pitt. In this particular instance though, I sort of don’t understand either one of them. From what I can tell, um, I can’t really tell anything. Is Brad Pitt sexy in this commercial? Um, I don’t know. I suppose he’s sexy in that whole “has you pinned to the ground with a knife at your throat and begging you to take him back” sort of way, but I’m not sure it’s conventional sexy.

Does it make me want to wear Chanel No. 5? Not really, but it does make me think that Chanel No. 5 is some sort of methamphetamine and that Brad Pitt has taken way too much of it. It also appears there may be flashing lights in the background, which really wouldn’t be much of a surprise at all. I will say this, it really makes me laugh and I don’t think it’s supposed to.


That would have to be some pretty sweet smelling toilet water to get me past that freaking abomination.

Buona sera, senorina, kiss me goodnight.

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