Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-JigBy J.S. Breukelaar
March 07, 2011
After a whistle stop tour of my hometowns of LA, San Diego and NYC, I’m back in my other home, Petersham, NSW, back teaching, writing. The dog, cat and kids. My office in the upstairs hallway. My beloved is here, and an indispensable best friend, family both there and here, my livelihood (for the present) is here, but my characters, my soul-mates, are there.
Not as horny a dilemma as you think. I drive on the left but glance to the right. I watch SBS News, but hear CBS 8. I eavesdrop on the conversation behind me on the train (a couple of call center managers talking about ‘escalations’ and ‘dehiring’) and give a SoCal edge to their antipodean jive. As the train winds out into the suburbs I see the two story timber homes of Brooklyn rather than the single-story brick bungalows so prevalent here. The boarded up bookstores are the same everywhere, as are the basement dildo stores and thrift shops and Laundromats and pawn stores, but instead of VIP Lounges I see gun stores, and smell Mexican instead of Thai, slices instead of pies and great vats of undrinkable swill instead of aromatic shots of espresso. And water water everywhere. I imagine the azure Southern Pacific washing up on the silver sands of southern California and see frozen lakes instead of mangrove swamps.
It’s a little scary, a little schizo, and I wonder what I’m missing. I think about Flaubert and Faulkner, neither of whom were entirely where they wanted to be and I also think of Stephen King who transformed Flatline, Maine into a febrile field of dreams and whose words stare back at me from a post-it on my monitor.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
Wait, you were in San Diego? Damn, we could have grabbed lunch.
I found there was a HUGE dichotomy in my thinking when I first moved to the American South, which is so culturally different from coastal California that it was months before the shock wore off (assuming it actually did). I can’t even imagine what it would be like to split my life between two hemispheres.
I was there a couple of weeks ago… and I had some awesome lunches! I haven’t been to the South since visiting childhood friends who moved to South Carolina. It was gorgeous but can imagine it would be quite a contrast to beautiful balmy SD.