This post is a little late. I landed back in the proper end of the country in early June of 2005. But I’ve been busy. So here are some random reflections on spending the equivalent of two presidencies back east:
I have become a Harris Teeter person rather than a Food Lion person. Supermarket choice is a biggie for me, obviously. Maybe I’m just feeling more middle class. More likely, though, it’s the fact that since I eat much differently now than I used to–much less processed and frozen crap–I’ve found that HT is not really any more expensive, but it really is much more pleasant. For reference, though, I will never become a Whole Foods person. There is nothing pleasant–nor even remotely tolerable–about being inside a Whole Foods.
I don’t drink sweet tea anymore. Haven’t in a long time. That ended pretty quickly after my first year back east. I pretty much never go to Waffle House or Krispy Kreme either.
People still don’t quite know what to make of me when I speak. I don’t have quite enough twang to register as a local but still have enough to make people wonder. I say “freeway” instead of “highway” or “interstate” and I actually know how to pronounce “gyro.” That said, I often–but not always–still emphasize the first syllable of “insurance” and “Thaksgiving.”
I am not one bit more fond of children, sports (even college basketball), or religion than I was eight years ago. I may even be less so. I have, though, started caring about discovering music again, even if a sizable proportion of it is in a language I understand only un petit peu.
I really miss being able to visit LA with relative ease. Being able to visit New York and Tornoto with relative ease helps make up for this.
I have discovered that many of the things I thought i disliked about city life were actually things i disliked specifically about San Francisco. But I have also come to expect more out of a living space for a lower price, which will make it hard for me ever to return to an extremely urban environment. I may regret this but I’m not sure. Related: Now that I have a house that can be cleaned, I’ve realized I kind of like it that way. Given any option in the world, would this be my first choice of where to live? Probably not. But it’s perfectly acceptable and I’m not clawing my eyes out dying to leave like I was in SF eight years ago–or like i was here twenty-plus years ago.
I hope never to have a thirty-mile commute again. Having a real career for the first time in my life, however, is pretty danged nice.
I have by necessity rediscovered a big part of my individuality and my independence over the past few years. The various circumstances that led to this were not ideal, but I think the end result will be positive. The fact that I have reconnected with a lot of old friends is a big bonus as well.
Where will I be in June of 2021? I won’t make any predictions at all.