I've had a lot of time to think about what it is like to return home. It takes a while to prepare your mind to re-visit things. Returning to the places you grew up around and loved can be a disheartening lesson in the inevitable doom borne from the passage of time. Your parents are a bit grayer around the temples, slower to get off the couch. Your favorite deli is dirtier, there are more potholes en route to the bank or post office. And the teenagers at the movie theater are ten times trashier and more obnoxious than you ever were.
I begin to understand why my grandparents seemed so adverse to change. It wasn't that they disliked rap music or wasabi-flavored cream cheese--it was that they were afraid of these things. Our world moved too fast for them to keep up and it was a warning to them that they may wake up one day and find that in their home town, they are just as lost and obsolete as an 8-track tape in an Apple store.
Now, I'm just over the quarter-century mark so I shouldn't allow myself to get too morbid too soon. Maybe when I'm 30 it'll be more appropriate.
It is a bit ironic to think that the world's greatest masterpieces--the pyramids, the Sistene Chapel's ceiling, Big Mac special sauce--were not conceived in a day, but labored over through many changing seasons before they were complete.
But, today, we have so much information and entertainment at our fingertips that virtually all of it is less valued to the point it is entirely disposable.
And if communicating is so important to us that the cell phone we use must be replaced every year to two years, and our iPod is practically ancient for having only 1 GB, then why not houses, and restaurants, and local parks too? We don't need them anyway, we have whole worlds that are much cooler and less polluted online.
So, nobody throws a fuss when Jerry's Deli is suddenly gone for a giant Tar-Mart and turn of the 20th century houses are knocked over for a glassy, condo highrise.
And my home and all the memories with it, doesn't belong to me any more. It was thrown away with all the old dot matrix printers and beepers. Why don't you just put a stake in my heart and stuff my mouth with garlic?
After all, I'm practically undead with my rotary phone and antennaed tv. I'm actually getting the digital signal converter device becuase I don't want a flat screen tv. I have no desire to see that soap opera stars are just as broken out and bloated as I am. I don't need to see the world in high definition--it's ugly and Kelly Ripa's voice is frightening. I want my blurry signal that shifts when the wind blows...because I want an escape. I don't want to communicate with people constantly in the empty language of "LOL" and "OMG." I want a real conversation, that is spontaneous and meaningful. And if it gets too intense, I will read a book or listen to my AM/FM radio...or a CD. That's right...Enya's Shepherd Moons from 1991, bitch.
And just like that, I'm 75, and an old busy body who will shake her cane at you if you drive by my house too quickly.
It's true, you can never go home again, because you realise, you weren't really needed there in the first place. Things are moving along quite nicely without you. So, if you are young or young at heart, you will pick up the pace, figure out where that new road goes and try Kim's Deli down the street. After all, home is more what you make out of it, than what it ever was.