Those of you who have moved, maybe once, maybe several or even numerous times, are perhaps familiar with the Packing Elves. While not malicious creatures, they do have something of a perverse sense of humor. I believe they are closely related to the Car Key Elves, those more mean spirited harpies who ensure that your keys are nowhere to be found, especially when you need them Right Now. The dislocation of the keys, of course, will be in inverse proportion to your insistence that “They were right here moments ago.” Sock Elves are Car Key Elves in training.
Slightly more distant cousins are They Who Inhabit Technology. How important is this document? Very? Sorry, your computer just “crashed.” And you need how many copies by when? Oops. Paper jam, and in the most inaccessible recess of the machine. Needs toner? They ensure that none is present, but that it is on order. Conniving creatures all. They can determine the blood pressure and Frantic Factor of a person at fifty paces.
Packing Elves are, first off, invisible.
Second, they appear, or at least make their present felt, in ever greater numbers the closer you get to what you think is the end point of packing. In this way, they are kind of like false summits on a long hike. You think you’re there, and then, lo! And then, yet again, lo! and lo! Finally, you do make it! However, your feeling exhilaration, while no doubt real and well deserved, is somewhat colored by a sneaking suspicion that there was a hidden trail, as it were, to the top, a trail known only to a select few. Gnostic knowledge, you you might say.
This is how you know these sprites and pixies are present. Basically, something you pack reappears, along with something else. Or, another way, what was a clear space on a floor suddenly, when you’re not looking, becomes strewn with stuff. In the vast majority of cases, what reappears is not furniture or any large items. These folk truly specialize in “stuff.” In my experience they are particularly fond of manipulating and multiplying office supplies, papers and files, photographs (!), and, occasionally, books. Though “been-there” t-shirts are not immune from their spell. Finally, they are masterful at ensuring that you abound in odd-shaped, hard to wrap and pack objects. Things that were once no doubt, at least in your memory, wonderfully symmetrical, suddenly appear oddly misshapen, with all sorts of jutting sides and corners.
While invisible, these elves are not immaterial. As they scutter, scurry and pad about (I can’t believe the Google dictionary doesn’t have “scutter”), you might see and hear a slight rustling of papers, or something mysteriously tips over. A particularly creative reappearance of previously packed (or so you thought) objects may be accompanied by a barely audible chuckle.
Professional movers seem to overwhelm these creatures. Then again, these two parties could reach some sort of financial arrangement agreed upon in advance. In any case, the Packing Elves seem most intent on playing, indeed having a delightful time, among those packing, moving, and/or storing worldly belongings on their own.
I am about 80 percent done with my packing. The trail to the summit is soon to become quite steep and unpredictable.
I would love to hear your stories about your encounters with the Packing Elves & Co.