(This piece was originally published August 26, 2013 and appeared on

My dear, dear Allston Rats, there is not much more I can do for you. There are plenty of moving guides and advice pieces for you to seek out, and I’ve given you my two cents. I wish you luck, we’re going to do great. In the spirit of Allston Christmas I am sharing with you today a tale of Allston Christmas Past as told by the most pro of all moving pros, the incomparable Sarah McEleney. She is a vintage rat, and has a tale of terror to share with you all to ready you for your impending doom.


When my four roommates and I moved from Ashford Terrace to Empire Street I borrowed the beer van from my liquor store job. I didn’t want to drive the van myself because I was scared of crashing it and killing everyone so I enlisted my friend Andrew to drive. He crunched into a telephone pole moments after taking the wheel which caused the side door to never open again and Andrew to go into a panicky spiral of dark feelings and self-recrimination. (This is a guy who, when he tried to make pentagram graham crackers for my birthday party and they didn’t come out right, I think he actually shed tears.)

So I’m like, “Whatever, I’m fired, let’s just fucking do this thing,” and then when we get to the new apartment with the first load the landlord is like, “Oh, we just bug bombed, you can’t go in there for twelve hours.”

And of course we have the van for like, four hours tops, and in twelve hours it’ll be one a.m. and we have to be out of the old place by midnight. So we explain this to him and he’s like, “Whatever the Chinese equivalent is of the expression ‘It’s your funeral’” and we start carrying shit up the stairs and into a cloud of bug poison.

After a few minutes, we notice that our skin is starting to hurt and our eyes are stinging; it feels like we’re getting sunburnt and chopping onions simultaneously.

So we’re moving. We’re moving forever. We have so much stuff! “What even is all this stuff?” we keep asking each other.

It seems to be continually replenishing itself, like a self-refilling soup bowl in an experiment about overeating. It was just matter, and it was our fate to trudge it down some stairs and then up some other stairs, probably for the rest of our lives.

Eventually I had to return the van (they weren’t mad; Andrew was still on suicide watch) but then we went back to Allston and continued to move using shopping carts until four in the morning.

The next day we went to a house show still all high on bug poison and drank cans of beer while tears streamed continually down our faces from our itchy, burning, bright red eyes. We got so weird and confused that, after the show, we went home to the wrong house and when we realized our mistake stood around in the front yard gazing wistfully into the windows until one of the new tenants came out. We were like, “Oh hey, what’s up man? This used to be our apartment.” And he was like, “You guys need to get out of here. Now.”

Eight months later we got evicted.

Sarah McEleney

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