Darwin’s Moving introduces readers to the colourful characters who populate the furniture moving trade, a male-dominated world of labour with relatively high pay and no need for education of any sort. Movers have a unique window into the private spaces of the city as they perform their difficult and delicate job inside all manner of homes, from government-subsidized housing developments to multi-million dollar McMansions.
Taylor Lambert intriguingly explores class and work in a city that would rather focus on the wealth and prosperity brought to it by the oil and gas industry. Darwin’s Moving shows us the Other Calgary, a world populated by transient men and women struggling to survive in a boomtown’s shadow.
Darwin’s Moving takes us behind the scenes of a business that is almost completely undocumented in Canadian literature.
Praise for Darwin's Moving
"...the collision of rich and poor is made starkly evident."
"...an illuminating trip to a realm of which we’re only dimly aware. Bonus: You’ll learn how to pack a van good and tight."
~ Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star
"Darwin's Moving is about Calgary but it's a larger story, too, about the ways Darwin's Moving is not unique, about class and the often-transient men tasked with moving our homes."
~ Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
"Lambert has shed light on a corner of the Canadian working world few even think about. The ghost of Orwell approves."
~ Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press
"You’ll never look at a moving truck the same way again."
~ Steven Sandor, Avenue Edmonton
|Publisher:||NeWest Publishers, Limited|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||620 KB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A Day in the Life
As I round the corner of the buildings that ring the gravel truck yard, I see three figures at a distance near Darwin's pickup truck. Darwin and Keith are easily recognizable even from afar. The third figure, withhis back to me and hood up, might be Jesse. He turns, notices me and starts walking to me. It's Jesse. He pulls his hood off. Did Jesse shave his head? The figure nears. That's not Jesse. "How you doin', brother?" Oh my god, it's Ricky Roy.
He shakes my hand and embraces me. "I'm good, man, how you doin'?"
Ricky's voice rises sharply in pitch as he answers with musical bounciness. "Aw, I'm doin' all right, man. Living the dream."
Ricky looks much older than the last time I saw him. His face is worn and wrinkled well beyond his years. "You got some more grey hair," he says in melodic voice as he flicks my hair with one finger.
I laugh. "It's the stress of working for Darwin."
"Yeah, I got some, too," he says, rubbing a hand over his buzzed haircut. "Turning forty soon." I hadn't realized that Ricky was ten years older than me, and I'm struck by the thought that I am now the age he was when we first started working together.
We walk to the pickup next to the warehouse where Keith is smoking. Darwin walks to throw something in the dumpster across the yard before I can say hello.
"How you doin', Keith?" I say.
"Mornin', Ty." He always gets my name wrong. Nothing personal, just a tired brain worn from decades of substance abuse.
"Ready for another beautiful day?"
He inhales the cigarette and answers in his rough gravel voice. "Fuck, my shoulder's fucking acting up again today."
"Yeah, muffin's complaining again."
Ricky and I continue catching up and he tells me he has cancer.
"Ah, it's fine. It ain't terminal or nothing. Doesn't stop me from living the dream." He grins and sways in a physical demonstration of his nonchalance. "Hey!" he suddenly barks, his bright eyes tightening as he looks over my shoulder. Ricky marches away from me and I turn to see Jesse grinning. They shake hands and Ricky says something quietly to him with a smile.
Darwin returns from the dumpster and walks into the warehouse. I follow him. "So, Ricky Roy." He looks at me with a moment of confusion and then understands. "Yeah," he laughs, "I was pretty desperate."
The trucks are running and ready to go, tidy and loaded with the necessary equipment and supplies. Darwin hands me the paperwork and says that it's me, Jesse and Keith working together. He's on another move with Ricky. He knows nothing about our job other than it is going from Crestmont to Springbank. Big, small, challenging, straightforward--anything could await us. We never really know.
It's the first time I've seen Jesse since he blew up Nazi Bill. Apparently bored at home one day the previous week, Jesse started burning things other than wood in his backyard fire pit. This escalated to aerosol cans and propane tanks. These he threw into the fire before running indoors and filming the result from a window. Bill unwittingly and unfortunately entered the scene just as the explosion occurred, suffering second-degree burns on his face and hands. Jesse pulls out his phone to show Ricky and I the footage. On the small screen of his flip phone little is discernible except the explosion and someone yelling, "What are you doing?!"
"Hey, Snuggles!" Ricky grins at me as he uses my old nickname. "You said you were going to write about me in one of your books." Jesse jumps in with excitement. "Yeah! You said you were going to write a book about me, too!" I insist I made no such promises; they don't care, it's not the point. We laugh and joke about it until it's timeto go.