As I said before, I've never lived in Ohio but it's always seemed a sort of homeland to me. My family's history is there. Whenever I visit, I think I should be able to feel that history, feel the pull of ancestral roots, or some such thing.
I usually don't though. Don't feel those roots like I think I should. The Ohio homeland connection is in my mind; not in my gut. Nevertheless, I still try to picture what it would be like if I were to live there. Could I live there? Could I do it? It would be nice to be closer to family. It would be sad to be so far from the ocean.
When I flew back to New York on Monday, my plane touched down at LaGuardia and a flight attendant announced over the intercom, "If New York is your home, let us be the first to welcome you home."
Is New York my home? Right now it is. But "home" has a connotation of something more permanent, less transient. I still feel pretty transient; I still change my address every two years or so.
Virginia, though the land of my birth, my childhood, my education, is no longer home. Not really. I still miss the Shenandoah mountains in the fall, but not enough to seriously consider returning to them. Boston is home too, in certain ways. But not in others.
So to sum up:
Dear AirTran Flight Attendant,
Thanks for the warm welcome, but I don't know if New York is my home. I mean, it is, but it isn't, if you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean? What I mean is, what is "home" anyways? It is a bigger concept than we could possibly unpack while waiting for that guy in Row 3 to get his stuff together and get out of the aisle so the rest of us can disembark the aircraft. You know?
And so, AirTran Flight Attendant, I'll leave you with that epic quote from the movie "Garden State":
"You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens...You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place."
Thanks for the gourmet pretzels and ginger ale.