Monday, July 04, 2005

Where I come from

Maybe this will explain why I got so upset at Blogzie’s yesterday after reading her copied-and-pasted “Fuck the South” post.

I am homesick beyond belief. I’ve heard of people getting homesick around Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or Christmas—around those holidays last year, I heard a lot of transplanted New Yorkers crying and moaning and reminiscing. I was okay, mostly because I ended up going home. If anything, I was dreading it, not looking forward to it. (I was thinking a lot about my upcoming New Years’ Eve wedding, so maybe that helped a bit, come to think of it.) But I’ve never heard of anyone getting homesick on the Fourth of July.

But here I am, getting homesick as *hell* on the Fourth of July. That little bald girl of mine is doing her best to try and convince me that I made the right decision, joining her up here. She doesn’t need to, but I can’t honestly say I don’t appreciate it. (And she has just now come up behind me, seen what I wrote, and given me a quick flick of my ponytail and kiss of my cheek. Love…her! :-) She’s comforting me, she’s keeping me busy every night this elongated weekend (I mean with things like fireworks; get your mind out of the gutter so mine can have some room!), she’s indulging me as I prepare the summertime delights I grew up with for our meals. She even told me about crying every night for months after her parents yanked her away from Eckveldt, Russia and plopped her into NYC. If my favorite stoic cried for that godsforsaken iceberg she grew up on—and she’d be the first to tell you how awful it could be, even though it was *her* godsforsaken iceberg—then I do feel like I sort of have psychological permission to tear up for Daytona and Orlando during a time of year when I really had some good times there.

Yeah, let me talk about the good times. I miss being able to see the awesome fireworks across the street from me. It was always so crowded and attracted so much traffic, but I felt so smart in a store parking lot within walking distance of my apartment. I miss the ice cream truck that circled those parking lots! (Every year, I needed a Bomb Pop, one of those red, white, and blue dealies.) I miss the invitations I got to the top floor of the Embry Riddle university building that’s a stone’s throw from the Daytona Beach Superspeedway so I could see the race, alternating between the TV and the window; I miss the times when I could go to the Superspeedway itself. I miss tailgating at the Superspeedway. I miss those things being possibilities. I miss fairs and carnivals. I miss the second helping of fireworks I usually got in another Orlando suburb. I miss bright and tacky shorts—even the tourists here stay away from those. I miss running around on a lawn with sparklers and setting off amateur fireworks (sometimes obtained from states with more liberal laws than my own) in the parking lot—did you know those were illegal here? L’Ailee just now learned that, too. Then again, mugging’s also supposed to be illegal here, and *that* happens on our sidewalks, but I digress. I even miss outdoor public pools. Most of all, I miss my friends who I had fun with during many times of the year, not just Independence Day, and I miss my brother, whose blue eyes still get big and bright at the sight of fireworks just like when he was a baby.

I know intellectually that some of the things I miss weren’t *that* great. I don’t have to worry about avoiding warm spots or kids who are just learning how to swim in my indoor gym pool that I have access to. (Actually, I *love* that pool with all my heart. To the point that if my L’Ailee ever got really difficult to live with, touch wood, I’d have to think about my pool access. ;-) It’s even hotter and muggier down there than it is up here. My pores had smoke in them after the fireworks show, even from across the street. And I was constantly fighting with the Dorkfish, who was constantly asking me for favors ‘cause we only lived a block or so apart.

I know also that I have some wonderful things up here: Coney Island, the ultimate corny old carnival. The friends I’m making up here, many of whom I’ll see tonight and who were at my home to watch the race on Saturday. Those cool public concerts in the middle of Manhattan that the TV studios sponsor in the summer—we’ve been among those faces in the crowds now, and will be again soon. Public transportation that goes anywhere you want and cabs that come as soon as you want one! I’ve learned words like “eckveldt.” (It means “the boonies” or “Bumfuk, Egypt” in Yiddish, basically.) It’s tons easier to be openly queer, to find interesting queer-friendly venues and activities, and to hold your same-sex beloved’s hand and kiss her on the street. And it goes without saying, my brilliant and beautiful bride, but I’ll say it anyway. She loves this place and has adapted to it, and is unwilling to adapt to a new environment yet again at the moment, and I love her and grew up loving her.

I have to remind myself how I missed her, how sad I felt when I wanted to show her something and couldn’t, how horny and frustrated I got, how I’d long to delay her flight home by a month or just pack her into my suitcase. I love the *dailyness* of our lives together now—the getting ready, the exercising, the cleaning, the TV-watching, the bickering over whose turn it is to clean the cat box, the faces we’re putting to each others’ work war stories, the compromises we’re making on décor that have actually turned out pretty good. I don’t want to leave her, or it, behind, not really. It’s just that there are these days like today when I get all maudlin and stupid, and I think that if we were to get our Powerball jackpot, I’d forget about the millions of ways we want to save the world and use my half to get as many of the people and things I loved down *there* up *here* as I could!

I remember reading this article on a Pagan website about “best choice ethics.” The underlying idea is that sometimes you have to choose between two good things—security or freedom, family or career, medical talent or musical talent, that kind of thing. I certainly relate to that. I chose one kind of love over another. I made the leap of faith with the knowledge that I didn’t have to *completely* abandon Florida and everyone and everything I loved about it, unlike certain little Russian girls who can’t even get a travel visa “back home” for a week, and that I can learn to love new things in New York, which I have. I know that I’ve made the best choice for myself. But then I get these reminders that there was, in fact, another good choice I could’ve made, too. And it hurts just a little tiny bit, to know that I can’t have it all sometimes, especially when my whole adulthood’s theme has been about integrating the oil and vinegar and wide variety of spices that is my personality and experience into one harmonious dressing, even over the loud objections I get from my culture(s) on occasion.

POSTSCRIPT: She *is* totally worth it. Y’all know I often compose posts in MS Word, right? Well, I do. Almost an hour ago, she requested that I “stop feeling sorry for yourself, save all you typed, and come play ‘Catfish’.” “Catfish” involves taking a fishing pole that’s been baited with a catnip-stuffed soft toy instead of a hook and worm, going to the stairwell of the basement which serves as your cats’ room, and casting the “bait” down to the furry little “fish” to make them go nuts in an extremely amusing fashion. It’s good for all of our souls, human and feline, and so we’ve kept our hers-and-hers fishing poles even though space is at a premium here. But “writing it out” is also good for my soul, which is why I posted the self-pitying tripe above. :-)


scribble said...

You are so loved.
That is what comes through more than any self pity you may feel.
We all deserve and need the time to remember and miss whatever it is we do miss.
It is ok.
Hopefully the act of writing it all out helps you to see it all as a whole, what you miss and do have.
Have a great day with those you love and those that love you.

Cindy said...

When I lived in South Dakota, I missed Ohio so bad I could barely stand it. When I was forced to move back to Ohio, I missed South Dakota so bad I could barely stand it. I wonder if any of us are ever really satisfied. I get homesick or nostalgic at the drop of the hat, I don't need a holiday to remember good times and miss things.
I'm glad you have someone that takes care of you when you need it! That is such a blessing!
Happy 4th

annie said...

you definitely give proof to that saying: bloom where you are planted (!) i have spent all of my life in the golden state, and have trouble imagining life anywhere else, despite the fact that it makes me crazy sometimes.

lightfeather said...

I miss the memories of days past too. I think we all do. Change, growth...never without a price.


Petunia McGillicuddy said...

nostalgia and homesickness are not to be feared. they are your friends; learn to savor them. they accompany any move, including in time. one day you will be old and homesick for your youth. savor it all. i think you are. :)

Jaded&Opinionated said...

It's good to feel nostalgic for the good things you had early in your life. That way, you don't forget what was really important to you. You can share them with those in your life now. But, years from now, the nostalgia will include the life that you're building for yourself right now. How wonderful that you can create a life so full of love that one day, you'll speak of this time with as much fondness as you speak of your childhood.

This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Clandestine said...

hey - missed you today!

i hope you're feeling better - i have moved many times, and get all tied up with homesickness. it's hard, but you'll get through it...

i also have a question - do you know anyone in brooklyn (a girl) who needs a 26-yr-old, grad student, bi-sexual, hilarious, scorpio, who-happens-to-be-my-sister roommate? she'll be going to pratt and her apt. just fell through...any help would be great. :)

Kelly said...

I absolutely loved your post today. You are so right about sometimes having to choose between two things that you love. It sucks but that is the beauty of going home. You can do all the things you love and dont have to stick around for the things you hate. You are wonderful. Love the post and hugs to you!!!!!

Qivan said...

Minneapolis is as far south in North America that I've been, but I would like to visit down there someday, when the politcal climate changes. Cracker, the Molson Indy is held right outside my building each summer, I get free tickets, but I can watch it from my solarium. I don't know anything about race car driving ( other than it's extremely noisy here for two days, they pay for a hotel if we want to leave ). I know a bunch of celebs come up, Paul Newman, etc. It might be cancelled this year, I haven't heard yet. Miss you at Blogzies!