Monday, October 6, 2008

Plate tectonics & rogue waves

I have been thinking a lot about home and friends and family and how crazy it is that in the 21st century so often we are so far away from each other. Spread across states, countries, sometimes even continents. And yet, this physical distance doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. My grandmother and I were driving by a bevy of Western Unions about a month ago and she asked me what they were used for now… and I told her I thought they were mostly for people wiring their families money in other countries. There is a real concentration of Western Union-type places in my neighborhood in Boston—because there are a lot of immigrants from all sorts of places—the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Barbados, Sierra Leone, Haiti… to name just a few. And these people, while they are surely very engaged in their day-to-day American life—are also, I would speculate, incredibly tied to their roots in their native country. This is sort of fascinating to me and especially meaningful when I need a bit of perspective. Or a reminder that is is okay and even great to feel ties to different places.
I am in a bit of a transient/gypsy/tumbleweed state. I supposedly live in LA, but I haven’t been there for almost 5 months. That is where my ‘work’ as I’ve known it for the last few years is, my best friends, the (stuffed) bunny that I sometimes sleep with, my roommates, my adopted LA family, my car, my books, my boots (until recently)… et cetera. I have been on the east coast, in new york, in Williamstown, Mass., in Wellfleet, Mass., and now in New York again. In New York I’ve stayed in three neighborhoods at least—Fort Greene, Flatbush, and Williamsburg. Soon, I will move to the Lower East side for a week or two. A year or two ago I kept saying—“I want to travel… I want to work… I want to tour! I want work to bring me to new and exciting places! Indeed—I have gotten what I wished for. And most days I love it. I am excited to go back but it won’t be for a while yet.
And while it is true that I haven’t had more than 36 hours off since I started working on May 16th… it is also hard to imagine jumping back into my LA life. It is only 6 hours on an airplane but it is a sort of cosmic mental shift as well. 3,000 miles and you have a change of climate, social life, job, ‘home’ and more. Sometimes it almost seems to me that the erasure-effect that the ease of airline travel has on places being ‘far away’ from each other makes for a loss of mental awareness to the massive shift that is going on with such a trip/move.
I do feel lucky to have family and friends spread out across so many interesting, unique places. These places have an effect on us, inevitably, and make for an incredible patchwork of experiences that make us who we are.
And I like feeling the closeness, and I like remembering the distance-- and then getting excited that at some point pretty soon I will get on an airplane and 6 hours later I will get off and LA and my life will meet up again... and also I will see the place differently, for the changes in me.

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