I’m not normal. Never have been. I come from a woman who painted thrift store furniture with the attention and care of Picasso finishing a canvas, and considered a discount grocery store the ideal tourist destination when visiting a new town. I come from a father who is admittedly pretty normal, but who still worked in the motorcycle industry for twenty years without owning a motorcycle for most of it. We don’t buy stuff because it will just have to be packed up in boxes and take up room in a storage unit or moving van later. We don’t buy stuff because it will take money we could spend on a nice dinner out or a pair of plane tickets- important things.
And we move. I went to three grade schools and two high schools, my brother to a different set of four and two. You move that much, growing up, you learn ways to adapt. In my case, to take each new situation equally seriously, in my brother’s, to not take anything seriously. So now he drinks and smokes and I work too hard, although those distinctions are fading. We’re both kind of equally working and drinking too much.
I sit here surrounded by chaos, having just sent a horrid confession to Mr. Hotness, awaiting my mom’s return to this crowded apartment, my coworker and I sweating over our desks, and my stomach clenches over a choice I have to make. Either I accept an offer from my dad to leave Buffalo and live with him, or I stay, here. And why would I?
I do not love Buffalo, I will probably never love Buffalo. I find it ugly, depressing, slightly pathetic, and I can’t say it’s been particularly kind to me.
I look around at this chaos, though, and wonder how moving yet again could possibly help me finally learn to live. To make a home for myself, to build lasting relationships, to act as though every chapter isn’t nine to twelve months long, as long as a school year.
My parents taught me many things I still believe today: relationships are more important than possessions, you do it yourself if you can, fights are fought fairly, fears are never given audience, and one never passes up a trip someplace new. But there is one thing I think they were hugely wrong about- that the next place is going to be any better than this one.
Another city would have more than two museums, it would have a higher employment rate, and it would probably have a sex toy store I wouldn’t be afraid to walk into. I will probably move that way soon. But after everything that’s happened this year, living in so many different cities… the things I want have nothing to do with my address. They have to do with a bedroom I can call my own, an interesting way to support myself, some friends, god forbid, getting laid now and then. I was unhappy when I didn’t have those things in Portland, when I didn’t have those things in Manhattan, when I didn’t have those things in Spain.
It isn’t about the place. I don’t honestly know what it is about, but I’d like to find out. Call it Buffalo, call it Buffgolia, call it Suckallo. For now, like it or not, I might have to call it home.