Monday, August 11, 2008

A Day in the Life, Part VII
"There's No Place Like"

Maybe it's because my parents were always moving. Maybe it's because we're nomads by nature.

Or maybe it's just me.

But I have honestly never felt content enough to hang my hat anywhere. The best places I've discovered are far away from family, and a healthy amount of guilt compels me to strive for proximity.

(Unless wealth were to afford me to the luxury of flying anywhere on a whim — thus far a dream and not a reality).

I do feel, at times, that Thoreau had the right idea; just... an undermining level of hypocrisy.

I've struggled with Walden ever since I first read it in high school: a man endeavors to turn away from society and live alone on a small farm. He praises the virtues of nature — and solitude — all the while downplaying the visits he paid to his benefactors (the Emersons) and ultimately abandoning his experiment after 2 years, 2 months and 2 days.

He said it was time to return to civilized life though, in earnest, he'd never left it. He'd just... changed it, in a way... only to realize he needed it in its entirety more than he'd ever care to admit.

But I think I understand him now. I understand the desire to be at two places at once; the desire to give everything away and retreat within oneself.

And yet: I want all of the things I enjoy in life, without the hardships that pay for so many them.

Gas to travel. Photos and cameras and music and bicycles and books and concerts and plays.

And yet: no more traffic. No more construction or 8-hours-a-day without the smallest slant of sun.

A week ago I was in one room, with the TV on in another. Through the hall I heard words I'd written (spoken by another) — a fairly rare occurrence for me, given the medium for which I normally write.

And I thought: well, my job isn't so bad. If only I could do it from home.

But where is home? My apartment with leaking walls, mold, and a landlady who lets herself in, unannounced?

The city where I live — the horns, the drunkenness, the middle fingers... and bicyclists who ride 3 in a row, blocking traffic either to prove a point or through sheer ignorance of the world around them?

The place where I grew up, where nearly every visit is marred with frustrations too personal to list?

And I think... I know the answer. Home is anywhere for me, so long as I maintain the freedom to pack my bags on a whim. In my dream world, I keep my job but have the ability to do it from anywhere: my apartment, my hometown, internet cafes on remote islands. Campsites in the Pacific Northwest; trails in Appalachia. I pack a single bag and move, but always with a home to return to.

But right now? Right now... I feel stuck. There are cars and pink fabric walls everywhere I turn.

They are closing in.


Technomonk said...

…a spectator personality trait, but with humanity as the sport of interest: Necessarily outside, but just as necessarily tethered.

david said...

Questions: Gibson control panel-marine? pink fabric walls-Cubeville? (been there except mine were dove make that battleship grey) how do you copyright a birdhouse?
Sounds like both you and MelO are ready for a change. Maybe a little less proximity?

ds said...

you do this very well. and you keep playing the cards further and further from your chest. you are tipping your hand. good luck in december.

M@ said...

I feel the same way as a transplant. Home is no longer home and here is home but I want to leave and I'm afraid to leave to find my home.

You need to slap that landlady.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. This gets my mind to whirring.

Stacy said...

Click your heels Dorothy, click em:)!
(when you get a chance check my new post, there's a home coming story you might want to see, then again, maybe not)