The correspondence of Apartment 5402 in exile


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Home sweet home

Hi ya'll,

First off, I took Beatrice to the vet this morning for the first time since we got her third year. You'll all be happy to know she's healthy, but she screamed her head off the entire time we were there. The vet had her wrapped in two towels, and still couldn't do part of the exam. Of course as soon as we got in the car to go home, she was quite and happy and now she's sleeping peacefully right next to me.

Secondly, congratulations to Rita on your fine academic achievements! I am extremely excited that you may now be moving to New England, my homeland. I am equally pleased with how well that fits in with what we're talking about here. When I was deciding where to go to college, moving far away from home was appealing, as it seemed to be to many high school seniors. While I certainly don't regret going to Chicago, pretty soon into my first year, I realized that it didn't really work for me to be so far from my family and everyone I knew. Until recently, I felt like I was a little bit lame for feeling this way. Like, I missed mommy and daddy and had to go back home to be close to them. So many educated young people move far away from home and seem to relish that distance, and I was self-conscious about my desire to be close to my family and hometown. Obviously I got over it, as I'm back in New England, although not in my hometown (yet!).

It makes sense to me to move to a new city or country for a specific purpose, a job, a relationship, a school, given that the new opportunity outweighs the downside of leaving friends, family and home. Given that, Alex, your travels and the various cities you've lived in, make sense to me. Of course there are people who have very specific reasons to leave "home", whether it be dysfunctional family, lack of opportunity, or general dissatisfaction with where home is. Excluding these specifics for the moment though, the part of Julia's post that you quoted doesn't ring true for me personally. Not only do I still feel tied to my parents, but I have zero interest in living with strangers. Maybe this is why I never like those novels about exploring and finding yourself, where vagrancy is made out to be romantic and life-changing. (Although, for the record, I acknowledge Julia's point that "vagrancy" is not really the right word. I'm going to keep using it though, because you all know what I mean.)

Alex, I think your categorization of your situation as "deeply weird" while at the same time being very common, is accurate. On the one hand, it doesn't make sense to leave the places where we are comfortable and the people who know and love us to go somewhere we are not known and that is full of people who don't know us. On the other hand, there are always other places and other people and some of those places and people might always be better than the places and people we have now.

Julia, you said that you are automatically wary of people who have lived in the same place their whole life, and they "must at least be curious about what it's like to live in, I don't know, Philadelphia or Hackensack or wherever." But curiosity about what it's like to live in Hackensack does not seem like a significant enough reason to actually pick up and move there. Also, don't you think there's something great about being a born-and-raised local of somewhere in particular?


P.S. Julia, I very much want to hear about how your vagrancy has been life-changing! When are you coming home?

P.P.S. Alex, have you been watching the current Friday Night Lights? Did you watch the one from a few weeks ago about Smash? I just watched it this afternoon, and bawled my eyes out.


Blogger alex said...

Of course I am watching, Becky! I'm also reading Slate's TV Club's postings about each episode. I think it is safe to say that I'm still obsessed. That Smash episode was SO good-I loved it when Coach Taylor told off the college coach and made him watch Smash play. Well handled, sir. But what's up with Baby Grace? She totally disappeared from the show and Julie is back to being a bratty only child.

Blogger Becky said...

You're right, she has kind of disappeared. One of my favorite moments ever on the show was when Tami told Coach she was pregnant. Also, in that Smash episode when he comes to say goodbye to Coach Taylor and they have that man hug and then the boys go play together on the field one more time, OH MY GOD crying so hard.


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