While back in the States I tried to explain to friends what the three week trip to the U.S. meant to me. I told them that I felt like a battery on low needing to be recharged with Americana and the smiles of friends. And that's more or less what happened.
Geographically the trip started with a few days in San Francisco, took us up into the Sierras around Lake Tahoe, and then from there road-tripped us down the coast to San Diego. The following are some of the thoughts and experiences that stick out in my head from the journey. To put some of them in perspective, they come to you from the viewpoint of an American who hadn't been in America for over a year.
- The first night in San Francisco I remember walking into a Walgreens in The Mission, and getting lost in sea of choice. My mind was overwhelmed by how much different shit there was to buy inside one store. No, I didn't need a quart of motor oil, a half-gallon of soy milk, my film developed, or a new hunting knife, but the fact that those things were all immediately available to me seemed fantastical.
- A year is not a long enough time to forget how to drive. It is a long enough time to worry that you forgot. It is also a long enough time to forget I am part of an elite, highly adept group of 14 or 15 people who actually know how to drive.
- In And Out. Double Double. Animal Style.
- There is something in the pine trees and elevation of the Sierras that makes me want to disappear into the mountains, live off the land and periodically get into skirmishes with tourists and local law enforcement. Kinda like Rambo.
- While standing in front of the infinitely long wall of cereal boxes at the grocery store, and knowing that this was my chance to choose the box of cereal I missed eating the most, I chose Life. (How awesome would it be if there was a cereal called Death?)
- The foods I miss the most are sushi and Mexican. In that order.
- Monterey is a beautiful place but I can't help but wonder what Steinbeck would think if he knew all the coffee shops there close at 6pm, all the park benches awkwardly double as tombstones, and Cannery Row is now an outdoor Disney-esque shopping mall.
- There are few things in this life that are on par with being able to sit around a table with a group of friends you haven't seen in over a year and know subconsciously that those friendships haven't skipped a beat.
- The drive from L.A. to San Diego is seldom uneventful. This time it included a pickup truck pulling a 5 foot trailer full of 20 feet of flames.
- Going for a ride in your friend's two seater airplane and doing a complete loop is better than riding any roller coaster...on acid...with your Mom.
- My dentist in San Diego, Dr. Joe, is the greatest dentist...ever.
- On our final day in San Diego I got up at the crack of dawn, and drove on the empty Sunday morning freeways to the beach. I stripped down to shorts, walked through the cool sunrise sand and I went for a 20 minute swim/body surfing session by myself in the ocean. In a sense it was my way of saying goodbye to California and Pacific for awhile. It stands as one of my favorite moments of the trip.
My three weeks in the States were important ones. They were a reminder I can always go back. To all the friends old and new I saw on the trip...thank you. I carry your energy with me now as I walk once again on a different continent far away.
My friend asked me a couple a days ago in an email to define the word 'romantic'. I told him this: To me 'romantic' is getting to a place in life where you have no idea where home is anymore, and quietly knowing that when 'home' want's to, it will find it's way to you.
I have no idea where home is anymore, but I know it's out there looking for me.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
Currently Listening To:
(on this recent trip I had a chance to see a friend from my San Diego days play gig at Slim's in San Fran. She was good when I left, but she's kicking even more ass now. Check her out.)
Song: All The Same To Me
Artist: Anya Marina (myspace) (twitter) (iTunes)
For more on how we first ended up in Buenos Aires check out the first post of Harmony and Dissonance.
other DANK links:
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