Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
First off, I need to vent that I do not have a dog. Thus, Toto, in this piece, is completely metaphorical. Lack of dog aside, I’m feeling a teeny bit discombobulated and I am not too sure how I feel about my current state of being.
Let me hit the rewind button.
When I think of my self-descriptors I have never thought of myself as rooted. I have been a couch surfer. I have used random cousin addresses as my own. And when I finally had a job that paid the bills, I didn’t stay too long in any city. Despite all that movement and surfing, I was always a proud New Yorker. Being a New Yorker always served as a shortcut way of saying I was dark-humored, straightforward, a Frank Sinatra/David Letterman fan, and fashionable. It did not matter that I had lived in five other states and another country, New Yorker was always my descriptor.
Eventually I made it back to New York giving birth to a beautiful baby boy in Manhattan ensuring that I would pass on the New York legacy. I couldn’t be more thrilled by that. Of course, when we are flying kites in the California beaches he argues with me as to whether New York is supreme. I chalk this up to childhood thinking shenanigans fully believing he will come to understand I am right about this as I am everything else.
Now back to me. Tell me Toto where is home? Next week, while still maintaining an active renter’s lease in San Francisco, I will be moving to Los Angeles. My family remaining in San Francisco, while we still own a house in New York. My son asked me where we would be putting up our christmas tree and how will Santa Claus find us. We assured my little boy who Santa Claus had a special tracker for us as well as a forwarding address. Despite us being everywhere, Santa knows where to find us. See, we are rooted. Somewhat. While we now currently have three addresses, come May we will have four addresses. In such a circumstance it is very hard to feel that any one place feels like home. In a way, almost every place feels instead like a hotel where I make myself at home with clothes and knick knacks strewn about.
My body doesn’t seem to mind where I am at as long as I can walk the city streets or run the treadmill. In terms of my mind, I don’t necessarily know how it feels. I have never been super homesick as I have never been in any one place for too long. The one time I ever felt a bit of home nostalgia and longing was when I was in Cuba. Despite loving Cuba, I felt isolated partly due to the inability to bridge the digital divide. In that moment, I longed for home. I longed for my tiny New York space with cobbed-webbed corners and a refrigerator filled with overpriced rotten produce. When I returned to New York from Cuba I was home. And then I went and uprooted myself again.
I am amazed when I meet people who have remained in the same place for decades. Maybe I will end up being like that now that I am moving to Los Angeles. It may be that Hollywood becomes a part of my day-to-day for decades. Or perhaps in two years, I will be back on the road again singing along to my mom’s favorite Willie Nelson.
“Woah, all I want is on the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again”
Now, today, home is wherever my little boy lies down to sleep and I can peer through a cracked door to watch him sleep. And perhaps also where my next dog will cuddle with his latest squeaky chew toy.