Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

A Sort of Homecoming

After more than 10 months away, I needed a ticket back to the US in order to take care of some important business.  Because I was incapable of spending an hour on the phone to secure a mileage ticket (funny how that works, eh?), I sent my mileage plan info to one of my many mothers and begged her to do it for me.  The reply was, “Well…I got you a ticket.  But there’s a 4-day layover in Dallas when you arrive.”

Oh well, at least I’m getting back for free…wha what woah what the???  Did you say “Dallas?!!!?”

 

March 2011: Dallas, Texas

Oh fuck!  I wasn’t even making that up.  That really happened?

No, seriously.  Dallas isn’t that bad.  It has…well…lots of highways and endless suburbs painted the entire rainbow of beige.  Every fast food chain known to mankind.  Lots of big trucks.  Gun shops, drive-through liquor shacks, porn-o-plenty…

Christ, who am I kidding.  Dallas is the biggest American Shit Sandwich since…Houston?  Really, it’s a tossup as to which place makes me more embarrassed to be a US Citizen.  I know several people in Dallas and they all have a half-baked goddamn story as to why they are still there.  No one even tries to say, “No, I love it here!”

I broke down and spent precious cash on a ticket that would get me out sooner.  If four days is a knife to the gut (which it would be), 36 hours is just a kick in the crotch.  Jesus knows I would spend as much on tequila in four days trying to keep sane as I would on a flight out.

So, thanks to The Lost City customer Jessica and her boyfriend Derek, I did not punch anyone in the face or otherwise harm my chances of getting on the next plane.  Success.  Finally heading home…

 

March 2011: Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho

I’m so happy to see family and I love being at my family home.  But I quickly realize that for all the time I have spent there, I don’t know anyone.  Seriously.  Other than my immediate family and one neighbor, I know no one.  I have never actually lived with my father and, although I dig being there, it was always a vacation stop.  And now, after traveling and meeting new people daily for 10+ months, I find myself sitting around and talking to the two horses, the dog, and the occasional bambi.  Surreal.

Is that introspection or am I just feeling depressed?  And why the fuck is it raining every day?  It almost never rains here…

Three days and off to see Mom.  No problem.

 

March 2011: Boise , Idaho

Many  people have asked me, “How can you hate the town you grew up in.  Boise is such a nice place.”  Exactly.  Too goddamn nice.  I find Boise to be almost dangerously safe.

One of the things you will hear most often is that Boise is a “great place to raise children,” which I read as code for, “There are little-to-no people of other skin colors here.”  Or, “There are plenty of Mexicans to do the work I don’t want me or my children to do, but they can’t afford to live in my neighborhood.”

The problem with growing up in a place where everyone is just like you is that everyone who is not like you is (at best) to be feared or (at worst) the enemy.

They say “familiarity breeds contempt.”  I say “familiarity lets me see more clearly into your twisted, evil soul.”  I have more to say about Idaho in the days to come.  Standby…

Oh, but I do love my family and dear friends who live there…sorry Mom.  (Also, since when does it rain in Boise?  I thought it just went from dreary winter to blazing hot in the high desert.)

 

April 2011: Portland Fucking Oregon

I knew I would feel something when I arrived back in Portland, I just wasn’t sure what it would be.  Joy?  Relief?  Remorse?  Nostalgia?

No.  It was, “Oh shit, this definitely isn’t home anymore.  What the fuck do I do now?”

I’m sure my feelings were aided by the fact that I no longer had a home, a wife, a job, a car, or a goddamn ball of lint to call my own.

It also didn’t help that I had spent 4 months of introspection, examination, long and honest email exchanges, sorrow, regret, longing, and loneliness trying to re-connect with my ex-wife.  And my first night back in town at dinner, she told me flatly, “You’re too late.”  Well played.

But really, I think it was the oppressive goddamn rain.  “How the fuck did I live here so long?  This place is the very definition of dreary.”

Depression.  Alcohol.  Lots of alcohol.

I found myself on the Internet every morning searching for a cheap flight.  To anywhere.  “There is no way I can stay here for two months; I don’t want to stay here for two more days.”

But after two weeks, I decided I was here for a reason and I needed to “stick it out,” even if just for the experience.

So I drank more alcohol.  And, magically, got more depressed.  And it rained.  And rained.  And rained.

On a positive note, The Sister had moved to Portland about a week before I arrived…one ray of sunshine in an otherwise mostly ugly 7 weeks.  I still have a warm place in my heart for Portland, but it’s really soggy and burps a lot.

 

(By the way, the good friends that I was staying with for my first 5 weeks there recently announced their pending divorce.  Good to know I continue to bring out the best in everyone.)

 

May 2011: Boise, Idaho

As I may have briefly mentioned above, I have long hated visiting Boise, but had never really bothered to sort out why.  Oh yeah, because it’s so goddamn safe.  And nice.  And clean.  (I’ll let you extract the meanings of those words yourselves.)  Two weeks with family and good friends was excellent.  At least a year away will be just fine.

 

June, 2011: Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho

Because I am unsure of when I will return, I wanted to spend some more time with my family before heading abroad for parts unknown.  I had survived the gut-punch-trauma of Portland and the cruel safety of Boise and have nearly two months to get down to some serious writing.  It’s been over a year since I left everything behind to chase the ever-elusive Great American Novel.  Content?  Oh, yes.  Do I have content.  Don’t even get me started…  Motivation?  Well, no income for 18 months will certainly motivate anyone.

But, in the end, I was just too goddamn depressed.  Infantile politics, guns, oil, abortion, taxes…I was better off when I couldn’t speak the language.  We in the US are too self-absorbed to see the forest through the trees.  And fat.  Jesus Christo are we fat.  I’m sure I put on 10 pounds just being in proximity to y’all.  This is not working.

 

July 2011: Portland Fucking Oregon

Okay, I really do love you, Portland, as much as I am loath to admit it.  As I’m making notes about my US expedition in a café and the table of butch, 50-something, silver-haired lesbians with the custom-bred dog (labradoodle, I believe) are replaced by a table of exotically pierced, half-bald, half-dredded 20-something lesbians who are sitting next to the girl in the white face makeup and the Michael Jackson hat and gloves (who am I kidding?  I’m wearing a goddamn chicken hat right now…), I realized there will always be a place for me here.  Just not anywhere in the vicinity of now.

I had 4 days to say my farewells and pack for another long overseas venture.  I think I spent 3.5 of them sitting in a corner sipping tequila.  Must be time to go.

 

Lessons learned.  Family and friends kissed, hugged, and reassured.  Future plans laid:  I have a one-way ticket to Amsterdam (nice) and am planning a few months of wandering through Europe before meeting friends in Thailand at the end of the year to open a new restaurant/bar situation.  Surely, there’s a novel in there somewhere.  Right?

 

5 Responses to “A Sort of Homecoming”

  1. Debbie Myer says:

    I think you should publish this blog as your book. All these adventures are so fun to read…just saying.

  2. Pretty sure there’s a Divorce Fairy that flits from house to house surprising people. Of course, he/she never, ever leaves any money for anybody other than kickbacks to lawyers.

  3. Truman says:

    Your best writing yet, very introspective. Good luck in Amsterdam, my friend.

  4. blake says:

    Cool. You just stole my Blog Prop virginity. I feel used…

  5. Wayne says:

    Hey – I recognize that place from above. I still can’t believe there’s a (shallow) creek that runs from there to the lake. Navigate at your own risk.

    Love you Casey – enjoy more adventures!

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