Metamorphosis: harder than moving house? You be the judge.

It didn’t escape my knowledge, when writing a post about cockroaches and their rightful place in the annals of history, that those supposedly loathsome little critters have been the subject of more than one artist’s output. Not only has Melbourne musician Kim Salmon written a catchy little tune about the cockroach, but of course, more famously, German born writer, Franz Kafka wrote an upbeat little story about a man who changed into one.

Oh alright – I admit that Kafka’s story is about as upbeat as Salmon’s song is catchy. Nevertheless, both are pretty interesting pieces of art, in my opinion.

I remember when I read Metamorphosis. I read the entire book in one sitting.  Where I happened to be sitting at the time was on the floor of the new house that my partner and I had bought. I was alone, in the late afternoon, surrounded by boxes, with no furniture. It already felt kind of weird anyway, in a “twilight zone” kind of way – you know how it feels in a new house (which is actually an old falling-down house) when the furniture is not there yet? The house smells like the previous owners, and it’s all empty and echoey (and in this case, had way too many pink walls). It’s unnaturally quiet and there is nothing to distract you because there is no food to eat, no tv, and you forgot to bring over a radio. You don’t know any neighbours and the entire suburb is completely unfamiliar to you. Yep, it feels weird.


From boxes to....more boxes

Sitting there on the floor, I was supposed to be unpacking books and putting them away so that we could re-use the boxes to pack more stuff from our flat and move it to the house. Ho hum. Is there anything as tedious as packing up to move houses? Apart from maybe unpacking again at the new one? I hated doing it so much that sometimes I think I would have preferred to just chuck all my possessions away and stroll over the threshold and across the 80’s teal colored carpet in the lounge room unencumbered, and start accumulating junk again from there.

Anyway, clearly I was enthralled in the riveting task of pulling books out of boxes and placing them on shelves, when suddenly amongst the books, Metamorphosis caught my attention. It must have belonged to my partner, since I’d never read it. Being utterly bored, I opened it for a quick squiz….


Sometime later, I finished the book, and looked around me. Darkness had fallen while I’d been reading. The unfamiliar, too-quiet house now really did feel a little bit eerie. With a slightly guilty feeling, I stood up, stretched, locked up the house, and headed off to the train station. The whole afternoon had gone by and I hadn’t unpacked many books, but I had read Metamorphosis.

I recommend that you read it sometime, too.

metamorphosis - kafka

PS. Did you see the potential for twisting the end of this post into a nicely thematic link? I could have said that unpacking those boxes was the beginning of another metamorphosis, because the house slowly morphed into a dazzling new creature, with cream colored walls instead of cracked, pink ones, and polished floor boards instead of teal carpet, and ended up smelling like frangipani and sandalwood instead of like the previous owners. I could have said it, but it just didn’t feel like it suited a post about reading Metamorphosis. Plus that didn’t happen.

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1 Comment

  1. OK – you’re insomniacal again – just like me! Working/writing at this time of the evening! Do we need to just get an insane, insomniacal, retreat somewhere so we can all feel like normal human beings? Oh, wait! They’ve already invented that! It’s called rehab care! They give you free drugs and all! Seriously, I love ‘Metamorphosis’ and I hate moving house!



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