As part of the process of tying up all our loose ends here before we take off there’s the perennially annoying chore of tarting up the flat in preparation for putting it on the market. Since we’re both world-class crap-collectors we took the remarkably sensible step of hiring a storage unit in which we can ensconce said odds and ends. As with all such chores we divided the labour – Sarah phoned the storage company and I packed, loaded the van and moved everything into the unit.

Fuck me, I have a lot of books. Seriously. Heavy piles of ex-tree.

(Unscheduled stop on the train of thought. In Waterstone’s on Princes Street one of the piles of books has a sign above it, a quote from PJ O’Rourke: “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” I love that 🙂 )

Anyway I don’t know if you’ve ever been in any kind of storage facility before but my god is it creepy. Granted I watch far too many horror films so I can get a tingle up my spine while wandering in a field of daisies on a summer’s day but this place is nasty.

First off you have to get in the lift, which is no normal lift. No, it’s one of the heavy duty jobs with massive heavy metal shutters which clang shut once you’re inside. Like the kind you see in trendy New York apartments but bigger. There’s just something final about that slam, something that whispers to your primal brain, “This is the kind of lift people get murdered in”. Have you ever seen The Eye? Scary Japanese movie? There’s a lift scene in that which would not budge from my imagination every time I got in the damn thing.

When you emerge, hopefully still alive and not possessed by any demons, things get worse. You see it’s a really big place and in these days of environmental awareness it just wouldn’t do to keep it permanently lit up so what do you do in this situation? Long, dark, creepy corridors full of blank doors, pushing The Eye out and making way for the hotel in The Shining? I’ll tell you what they use – fluorescent strip lights, bane of any hapless horror movie victim. They flicker, they buzz and they give off the most appalling pale light which gives your skin that translucent deathly quality.

But that’s not enough for these guys, oh no. They added the delights of motion sensors so the damn things turn themselves on and off as you pass them. What kind of sick mind does that to people? Don’t you know that such a setup is basically an open invitation to passing axe murderers, undead child molesters and other assorted denizens of the land of nightmares?

I could go on about this stuff – the ominous trundling of other people’s trolleys, echoing footsteps, the cage on the roof of our locker – but I’m already freaking out and mentally going back to the Dark Place.

Honestly, I’m so glad I don’t have to go back for a while, need to gather my nerves (and read my “How To Survive In A Horror Film” book) before I can face it again. If you need me in the meantime I’ll mostly be on Google searching for “storage unit AND unexplained grisly murder”.

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