Why do you live where you live?
When I lived in Honolulu I had split ends and sunburnt shoulders and wore flip flops everywhere. When I lived in Boston I wore knee socks under my pants and walked stiffly from the cold.
Now I live in North Carolina, and this evening I was overcome with a sudden panic. I wanted desperately to see the ocean. Any ocean. I live four hours from the coast. It’s the furthest I’ve ever lived from the coast in my life. The island of Manhattan doesn’t feel much like an island, but you know it is one.
The other day I was listening to the Talking Heads while driving–an album I used to know by heart, and the song ‘The Big Country’ came on. David Byrne sings about being on a plane and looking down at the fields and houses in the middle of the country. The chorus goes:
“I say, I wouldn’t live there if you paid me.
I couldn’t live like that, no siree!
I couldn’t do the things the way those people do.
I wouldn’t live there if you paid me to.”
I realized with a shock that for the first time in my life, he was talking about a place like where I’ve chosen to live. It actually stung. I’ve loved the Talking Heads for a long time, but I’ve also always felt like we were on the same side, having both lived in New York city (I even babysat for David Byrne’s daughter once when I was 13, which is my only claim to fame). But now I winced when I heard him sing,
“It’s not even worth talking
About those people down there.”
I guess I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about my new adopted state, and my new little town. I moved here to check it out, see what it was like living further South, in a smaller city, with a different culture. But the people I’m surrounded by aren’t just living here because they thought they’d check it out. This is where their lives are; this is where they want to be.
I am not sure if it’s where I want to be yet.
Possibly this is why I am having a hard time making friends.