back home

I wish someone would tell me what time it is, or better, stop turning out the lights when I'm finally ready to wake up. I've gone from horizontal in bed to horizontal on the couch, to barely horizontal at the breakfast table (as the eggs were too good to sleep in.) Why haven't we invented time travel without this dumb timelag? Because we're too busy building bombs and SUVs, I suppose.

Quetzl told me before I left to "write about being in America!" but I'll be honest, I've come back empty-brained and -handed. Not that there weren't things to attract or elicit even small, whispered words during my mostly-solo wanderings: I swore copiously during a two-hour slog through traffic between Berkeley and San Francisco. I mumbled incoherently while the city's ever-present homeless hit me up for change or tried to hawk a Street Sheet, right in front of the Christmas SPCA kitteh windows downtown. And I said goodbye to lots of people, again.

What was peculiar is that I felt that I had just left yesterday; that virtually everything seemed more or less fairly frozen in time; and that what I thought I had felt as homesickness some months and months ago was quickly assuaged by the realization that, hey, the city's still there. And so are the people. And what seemed like a brief burst of togetherness was just that -- going away and coming home may seem a holiday, but what happens before and after is just the regular stuff of the Alltag, and as such makes an attempt at "catching up" after 18 months (especially in the space of two hours while noshing burritos) somewhat awkward, if not entirely impossible. Which, I think, is why I felt more as if I was just dropping by on a school night; a couple of glasses of wine and lovely hugs and conversation, and then, well, back to work.

I suppose I could say something terribly pithy about the nature of electronic communication keeping people closer and making the world smaller and all that, but I don't think that explains the surprisingly reassured feeling I had when finally landing after 14 bumpy hours in the sky. I got to ride the slow bus home resting my head on a favorite shoulder; and finally, after weeks of sleeping alone, shared a pillow too. Now, that's home.