Moving

First, the all-too-common apology: sorry for not writing more. There’s been a lot going on in 2015, and some new habits have displaced old ones – somewhere within that, my tradition of parking myself in “writing mode” on Sunday nights disappeared. Which is, in of itself, a copout answer: a more accurate explanation would be that my creative energy has been more occupied with other things, and the things I can write that don’t require as much creative stamina don’t really strike the same chord that they used to. 1

But, as I write this, there are two things happening that always seem to get me in a writing mood:

I’m moving next week, and I feel like I should be simultaneously making a bigger and smaller deal out of it. Moving is one of those things that inherently feels big, right? It’s that kind of thing that inspires a television montage; there’s some symbolism in moving past the place you spent so many hours in a day, there’s a rhythm of having the uber-stress of the actual move and then the relief of finding yourself in a new place.

The truth is, I don’t really think I’ll miss my apartment that much; I like it, but I like the new place more 3.

One thing is the rhythm that I’ve developed over the past two years in Belltown. So many little pillars in my life will be going away: the block-away Uptown Espresso, the growler fills at Vine St. Market, the tiny commute cutting through Denny Park, the cocktails at Clever Bottle and Bathtub Gin, the warmth.

I know these things will come back in time: I’ll eventually sync my sleep schedule with the eccentricities of the 8, I’ll find my favorite coffee and cocktail spots, I’ll train my muscle memory to stop typing in *500 Wall Street * in the shipping address.

I think the strongest memories I’ll have about my soon-to-be-old place, though, will be the ones that came by virtue of it being ~~ my first place ~~. Things like finally having a place to call my apartment. Setting off my fire alarm the first time I made pan-seared steak 4. Hosting M for the first time (and discovering how to make a too-strong margarita.) That grueling July afternoon where Dad and I assembled an entire apartment’s worth of IKEA furniture. That hug goodbye.

Those memories, though, will always be strong.


I’ve been in my new place for almost a month, now, and it’s surprising to me the things that change and don’t change.

If I squint my eyes, I haven’t moved at all. I’m still collapsed in the same red couch and fall asleep in the same gray bed. I’ve got the same pots and pans and I listen to same Paul Simon albums while I cook breakfast for the week. I still spend too much time on the Internet and too little time outside. I still dribble my soccer ball around the dining room when I’m thinking. It still takes some effort to leave work on a Thursday and not reflexively start heading to Denny Park; but even once I’m back home, it feels as if I’m back in Belltown, in the same place I’ve been for two years.

But there are the tiny changes to my habits that alert me otherwise. The cacophony of firetrucks and drunks from 2nd have been replaced with a calm hum. The hardwood floors wake up my feet in the morning. The water pressure from the kitchen sink is worse, and I need to use more elbow grease. The bath takes longer to fill, but I wait fifteen minutes and feel like I could dive into it. There’s a Trader Joe’s across the street that I shop at every day, instead of having to rent a Zipcar and stocking up every couple weeks. I no longer have a schwarma place, but I have a Thai place. The walk to work is longer, but I pick up coffee on the way.

Every other move except this one has been a “big move” – the move to Virginia, the move to college, the move after college, all massive changes in identity which happened to coincide with a move. This wasn’t that – I’m still the same person with the same rhythm, just with some new fluctuations and background music.


  1. AKA Python tutorials. [return]
  2. Stockholm, which I promise I’ll write/post pictures about shortly. [return]
  3. You guys, bay windows in two rooms. Two rooms! [return]
  4. Still tasted great. [return]
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Justin Duke is a writer and developer in Seattle.
He likes good, practical things.
(And writing in the third person, I guess.)


@justinmduke
me@jmduke.com