Monday, June 12, 2006

we got back about a little while ago from visiting friends in the ol' hometown. neither are hometown natives; it just happened to be where one of our friends worked and decided to buy a house. the other, a published author in the middle of three more books and who is transient at the moment, was visiting. i look forward to such visits because it gives us a reason to go back, even though i didn't have much appreciation for the place at the time. like many other of my classmates, i couldn't wait to skip town.

but this place, this valley, has a strange pull. they're called memories. whenever i'm near the old hometown the urge to visit the house where my brother and sister and i grew up is strong. even though there were many unhappy memories for me, there were enough good ones to keep me around. i am reminded of this when we drive through the valley on hot summer nights. sights and smells take me back to certain times in my life, like weekend drives on I-5, along the san luis reservoir on pacheco pass, past the garlic processing plant in gilroy where we'd roll down the windows to breathe in the intoxicating smell. i remember one too many times when our car would break down on 152 when it was relatively untraveled as it is now, a bit too far between towns. we ended up parked in the median, sleeping in the car until we got towed the next morning to a gas station stop called Red Top with its World Famous Fishing Museum [although it seemed to be miles away from any real water] and some of the best, fluffiest eggs i'd ever had. because of this, i missed my 8th grade civics pizza party that day.

i'm too old and timid to live in a place as congested as the bay area. i never liked cars and feel that i would probably thrive better in a place like NYC, london, or paris with their super-efficient public transit, but the cost of living deters us.

so i have struggled with the decision to leave or stay way too many times in my head. as time goes by i realize that i'm ok with certain things: it is fairly easy to get around here. it is close to work. it's relatively inexpensive. it's close to mountains and ocean. i recognize the street names when we pass through certain valley towns. it's far from perfect but getting better in some ways.

it's home.