When Will My Mattress Return From War? | on moving to a new city

I love co-opting “moving to a new city” into “reinventing myself.” The ideal Nicole in Detroit is a new person. I make my bed. I promptly text back. I believe in God. Except, rudely enough, it turns out that moving to a new city to escape your problems just means that you have those same problems, just in Detroit, but now you’re also down a mattress that will not return from war.

when will my husband return from war, except it's a mattress. moving to a new city probs

I flew into Detroit on Friday. I should’ve moved in August, when I started my job, but, you know, the pandemic complicates moving to a new city. My apartmate and I ended up arriving here at the perfect time, right when the weather gets miserable and I freeze my Texan ass off.

I’d been talking to the leasing consultant, AKA God of the Apartment Complex, for a week beforehand, to the point where I considering adding her to speed dial. My mattress was going to be delivered by Amazon the day of my move in, and I wanted to make sure there was a place for it.

God of the Complex: We don’t have a place for it.



Me: So… where do packages normally go?

GC: If it’s too large or heavy, you have to be there to sign for it or we will send it back.

Me: But what if it arrives before our lease signing appointment?

GC: How about this, we’ll play it by ear. I’ll tell security not to send yours back.

Me: Okay. Are there any dollies?

GC: No.

unimpressed face

Me: Really, an apartment complex doesn’t have a single dolly I could use?

Me, actually: Oh okay.

Days later, during our lease signing appointment, Apartmate and I sat across from GC, as she started going through our novel of a lease, page by page. Awakened from my stupor by the mention of package delivery restrictions, I blinked.

Me: Packages can only be delivered during business hours?

GC: Weekdays.

Me: Okay. So—

GC: Saturday hours are 10-4 and we don’t accept packages on Sundays.

Me: But I don’t… control when my packages are delivered.

GC: They try again the next day.

And what if they delivered it at the same time? Would we just be caught in an infinite loop? I felt like I was in a simulation.

math meme

GC: If the package is too large, you will need to book the freight elevator to transport it up.

Me: But how will you know when to book the elevator if you don’t know when it’ll be delivered?

I supposed it didn’t matter. We were already trapped. GC left the conference room to get us our keys and we sat, waiting.

As I was thinking about the two required emergency contacts—I only had my mom’s address and thus was considering leaving my estate to Kate McKinnon, Schrodinger’s mattress and all—I received an email notification from Amazon. “Delivery attempted with your Amazon package.”

I burst out of the conference room to tell GC. After she inquired with the front desk, she asked me if I could get them to come back.

Me: Like, call… Amazon?

calling up jeff bezos

GC: Yes, just tell them to come back.

I Googled their customer service number, feeling bad for whoever picked up.

Unlucky Soul: This is about your order of the mattress?

Me: Yeah.

Me: Uh… can you… come back?

My apartmate snorted. GC started feeding me talking points, like she was worried I would give the apartment a bad name… to AMAZON. I mean, they’re our corporate overlords, so if anything, I feel like they would’ve been proud.

GC asked for my phone and talked for a bit, to no avail. The package would be redelivered the next day, and thankfully I’m a paranoid person because I’d brought a sleeping bag.

The next day, I stayed home, waiting for the mattress, until I was told it wouldn’t arrive until Monday. This worried me because sleeping on the floor was already building too much character for an NPC. I feared for the fabric of the space-time-continuum, but at least it was good for my back.

On Monday afternoon, I got the call and rushed downstairs. The truck was parked outside of the gate.

Deliveryman: Nuclear power plants are easier to get into than this building.

Deliveryman 2: We hate this place.

Me: This place hates us all.

But I was in a good mood. At last, my mattress was out of package purgatory. I could now focus on my moving to a new city. I could resume devolving into a human incapable of surviving a day in the wild.

I could retire “not having a mattress” as my go-to conversation starter and defining characteristic, to what I imagine must be great relief to my poor apartmate, who did not sign up to hear me constantly talk about a nonexistent mattress. He signed up for even more annoying subjects like my forthcoming bedframe. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s accepting thoughts and prayers.

Last post: Are You Being Ghosted?

2 thoughts on “When Will My Mattress Return From War? | on moving to a new city

  1. That first illustration is a doozy. Great! (though the sentence structure/grammar in the 1st graf is a bit confusing.) But that picture tells the complete story, while enticing us to read the whole thing. 🙂


    1. Thanks! Good point on the grammar. I wanted to keep the parallelism in present tense because I thought it had a nice ring, but the sentence before it didn’t really work in present. I changed it (hopefully for the better.) Anyway, thank you for your thoughts as always, appreciate it(:


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