Making Peace

I may have touched on this subject already, but it’s recently come up again.  Hopefully I’ll skew the telling enough that it will seem new.

I recently had lunch with a coworker and afterward, wanted to show him around the island of Alameda (I work AND live here . . . YAY!).  We’d eaten lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, then got ice cream at a place that’s been family owned for nearly 30 years, and then I drove him along the prettiest stretch of the island–Central Ave–before heading back to the office.

Afterward, he said it was obvious that I was proud of where I lived, and agreed that Alameda is a lovely place, but his comment caused a momentary panic within me that maybe I’ve become too attached to this town.

I know I’ve mentioned before how much of a nomad I’ve been throughout my life; how I’ve lived in almost enough dwellings to match my age.  When you’ve moved around that often, it tends to feel a little freaky when you find yourself putting roots down in one place for any length of time.  That’s why I felt like a caged tiger when I was nearing the end of my first year in an apartment in Chicago and knew I’d be staying for a second.

But back to Alameda and how “proud” I appeared to be to my co-worker.

My momentary panic lasted no longer than that moment.  I found myself pondering his comment for a little while longer that day, but with more of a calm wonderment that I once again found a place that I wanted to stay in for more than a year or two.  I lived in Chicago for ten before deciding to move to Alameda, and by the time Craig and I move elsewhere, I’ll have been here at least another ten.

I do still marvel that I’ve eaten at a few restaurants enough that the waitresses know my face and know my “regular” order–something I thought would NEVER happen with me–but I’m starting to see it as a good thing, rather than an invasion of my privacy.  And I honestly feel so great living here.  I’m within an hour away from four major cities (San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento), and less than an hour from three major airports, so I can fly anywhere in the world that I want to.  The island looks and feels like a town in the Midwest (where I’m from), but the temperature rarely drops below 40 (this year was an exception, for everyone I know), which is just low enough to produce gorgeous fall colors on the leaves of the trees around here.  It’s a small enough island that you don’t feel lost in a big city, but large enough that you don’t feel like everyone has their nose in your business.  So, what’s not to love?

The one downside to it is that it’s in the U.S.

There are so many issues I have with living in the States.  I’ve never been comfortable with the “We’re the greatest country in the world” arrogance that causes us to invade other countries when we’ve no business being there, or act all shitty when traveling overseas.  Or how we try to buy friendship from other countries by sending money over there, but we have no desire to take care of our own homeless, sick or underfed people.  And don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of calling ourselves the “Land of the Free,” when we’ve turned so many personal preferences into mandated laws, that more and more freedoms are being revoked from the American people.

So at some point, Craig and I will be moving out of the country.  And I’ll have to put down roots all over again in some new place.  Hopefully it won’t take me as long next time to make peace with being in a place where people become used to seeing my face, or being able to say “I’ll have my regular, please.”

And who knows, maybe my next move will be the permanent one . . . nah . . . but I’ll give it another ten years.


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