I've been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of the word, "Home." Simple word - one syllable, four letters. It has been the subject of poems, songs - I heard they even flip 'em on tv.
"Home is where the heart is." - Pliny the Elder
Well, my heart is with my family - always. So does that mean my 'home' is the house I grew up in? Back in Everytown, Indiana - my parent's house, where they still kick it in their retirement to this day?
That house is infested with memories. I swear Mellencamp's Pink Houses plays in my head every time I walk in the door. I can return after any length away, and immediately feel at peace. Smell my dad's cooking. Watch movies with my mom. Play croquet with my niece and nephews in the back yard. Perfection.
There is only one problem - it exists in the middle of Everytown, Indiana. One side of town smells like the paper mill (which itself smells like a dirty asshole). The hottest nightspot is the smoking section at the local Applebee's. And worst of all, the entire town is chock-a-block full of everyone who's ever been photographed on People of Wal-Mart.
I spent 24 years trying to get out of that particular 'burg. And I did, ten years ago, to sunny California. And I settled in another little (but altogether different) town.
"" - Emily Dickinson.
Gee, thanks Emily! That really clears shit up.
I love the City of Dana Point. It's beautiful, it's mellow, and it moves at my pace. In truth, I don't know that I ever want to leave - because it is the kind of town I always saw myself retiring in. Buying a boat. Reading a paper while having brunch on the patio at Hennesey's. Come the afternoon, shuffling down to Turk's, where the youngest waitress had her first shift when Carter was in office - and where they pour the drinks strong enough to make you feel like an adult.
But the problem with Dana Point? The 589 square feet that make up my apartment. The one that I pay $1200 a month for. It's nice, don't get me wrong. But it is by no means a home. California is beautiful. It has mountains, valleys, beaches and forests. It also has a fucking outrageous average property value. I can't afford a house out here - which in turn, makes it feel less and less like a home.
So is it the city you live in? Is it the building you reside in? Maybe it's being closer to those who mean the most to you. Honestly? I don't know. Woodie Gutherie once sang, "I ain't got no home in this world anymore."
I'm feeling ya, Woodie. It may be time for me to start looking again.