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I will never live here again.

Each time I visit home, this conviction grows stronger.  What’s different about this particular visit is that I typically don’t realize this until my third or fourth day here. 

Usually, I spend my first couple days enchanted by this place I have so recently left. This feeling probably has a lot to do with having a car again. Anyway, during these initial days, I start seriously thinking about how much simpler it would make things if I moved back in with my mom for a couple of months, and transferred back to Georgia State once I’d lived here long enough. 

But then, about mid-way through the trip, the nostalgia washes away — roughly around the same time I notice how much it’s costing me to gas up the car, and my legs are aching from having been in the driving position for 8 solid hours.  It is replaced by a much more fervent urge: I need to go back to Oregon.  This place — this unnaturally warm, sprawling behemoth of a settlement — is not something I’m meant to be a part of anymore.  The moment my return flight breaks through the cloud cover around PDX, and the grid system starts revealing itself to me in patches through the (inevitable) rainy mist, I feel as comfortable as a person possibly can.

But so this trip, I step off the plane, and lo! My first thought, the 75-degrees and humid November air engulfing me, is this:  This is most definitely not home anymore. 

This feeling does not waiver as I ride Marta up through the city to meet my dad.  I miss the way Marta has an odor, unlike sterile Tri-Met. The thing is, though, if I were a transit system?  I know in my heart that I would smell like a hospital.  Clearly, I am meant to take the Max. 

And then, as my dad speeds me toward my mom’s house in his Lexus — several nearly-mauled pedestrians (my father would be stoned to death if he were a regular Portland commuter), and a couple of big-ass suburban developments that weren’t there the last time I came home passing through the rear-view mirror — it is very, very clear to me that I am no longer programmed to operate in this place.  And maybe, if I had to live here for a few years again, I could be reprogrammed, but I really don’t think I’d want to be.


7 responses »

  1. I know what you mean. I live here and I can’t stand it. I can’t wait to get out for good, but I’m so happy to be going to a colder, less humid place, at least for a few days. Speaking of, I was never going to be here on Friday. I’m leaving this morning at 3:45 for Atlanta to pick up my roommate before we head to the airport to be there by at least 6:30 so we can make our 8:30 flight. So I guess I missed you and E. 😦

    About psoriasis, they believe it’s genetic (although you won’t necessarily have any outbreaks even if you carry the gene) and brought on by stress. Bingo. I started moisturizing last night, and it’s really helping. If it’s not a rash or something else and is actually psoriasis, I have the most easily treatable and least severe form of it. I’m calming down about it, but still.

  2. I didn’t really think about it when I left Washington for St Louis. Going home thereafter was always just to visit. And every visit a few more of the people I might have called had stayed where ever they had gone for the holidays until one day my parents ( and a free place to stay when I was in town) relocated to Massachusetts, and then there really wasn’t any going home again. Now, when I go, I’m just a tourist. As long as I stay in the District, little appears to have changed, due to the “nothing higher than the capital” rule; but as soon as I stray very far beyond its confines, I am overwhelmed by what a generation and 12 million people without a clue can do to a place. Houston was the same; as is Megantla. Spent the weekend looking at land for sale on the other side of the mountains. Would be nice to have enough so that I not only can’t see my neighboors, but can’t hear the cars on the road, either. It’s nice to have deer, even if they do find my roses tasty.
    You are on your way right now to return to the land of moss and mushrooms… home. Safe journey.

  3. Patience. We’ll get to Ed. He’s on the list.

    Also, Adam is most definitely Jewish. As are Ryan and Brian.

    Also, just so you know, without your comments November would have sucked.

  4. Dude. W made friends with C on facebook. Should I friend her? She hasn’t made any moves. I don’t know. I don’t like them knowing things about me. I friended S, that’s as far as I want to go. S is cool. I know that S won’t judge me. WHY CAN’T THE CREEPY OLD PEOPLE JUST STAY THE HELL OFF FACEBOOK!?!


    So, I’m just going to ignore it. And stop commenting on W’s facebook. Because she’ll totally be reading those comments. Sullenly judging me. In that WAY that she does. Argh.

  5. Just didn’t feel up to it. I don’t know. But it doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.

  6. When will you be here?

  7. I misspelled something on an envelope, and I didn’t want to waste it, so I have mailed you something. I figured I’d tell you, since the anticipation is half the fun.


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