Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here vs. There or Just Another Friday Night at the (Home) Movies

Hi friends,

It's official. Or rather, it's been official for over two months. I'm a little slow on the uptake and so it's just starting to sink in now that I live on the West Coast. I've moved "home"- home in every sense except the one where I live in the town/house I grew up in.

As a perma-traveler there is little more I like than comparing regional differences in the places I've lived- my favorite is the wide-sweeping "East Coast vs. West Coast". I also enjoy the "Boston vs. New York" and, now that my little brother is moving to Melbourne, the "Australia vs. the U.S."

I wasn't a fan of the "Boston vs. New York" comparison when I lived in New England. Compared to my hometown, Santa Cruz, my new college town, Boston, felt like a thriving metropolis. And it was- subways, ethnically distinct neighborhoods, major league teams, the works. However, to the New Yorkers in my class it was a small town- a subway that shut down at night, White people everywhere, and a baseball team that hadn't won the World Series in decades. I quickly grew tired of listening to kids from Long Island talk longingly of The City in a way I felt belittled my urban experience. Before I followed the well-worn path from Boston to New York, I promised myself I wouldn't publicly bemoan the lack of 24-hour diners when I left The City.

Now that I'm "home" I find myself constantly talking about New York. But it's my New York I miss- coffee at Cafe Grumpy and solo-midweek brunches at Eat Records, reading the New York Times in the park, the long walk from the Bedford L train home, watching the demographics shift the further uptown you get, brick buildings and the cobblestone street on Jones Street, papusas on sunny Sunday mornings at the Red Hook Ball fields, and most especially- a million little rituals and inside jokes with some people who made me feel like I won the friends lottery.

In the same way it's off-putting to frequently talk about an ex with the new person you're dating- I'm worried the same is true for your new city. It's harder to fall in love when someone's stuck on the last person/city. Try as hard as I do to sulk, San Francisco is here with it's arms open ready to embrace me in it's foggy blanket (or is that a cloud of pot smoke?) and welcome me back home.

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