Friday, July 16, 2004

A Thousand Days

Three years ago today, I left Binghamton with a suitcase, a laptop, and Gabriel, who protested bitterly for the entire 3,000 mile trip.

Now I'm a Californian. I live and vote here. (And the voting is weird; I've used paper-punch ballots and touch-screen computer ballots.) I've been through layoffs and buyouts and the thrill of working 36-hour days to debug the new software release. I can give people directions and tell them about cool places to buy used books or fresh herbs.

I know the precise California definitions of highways, expressways, and freeways. I've learned to expect drivers to brake when they see a pedestrian -- I'll probably get killed next week when I go back East, where the proper relationship of a pedestrian and a car is that of matador and bull.

I've found work, friends, love, a great writers' group. I have a community here; I'm likely to run into friends at the grocery store or on the street in certain neighborhoods. I have a church where they know who I am and who I love, and I am welcomed. I'm even reading one of the Lessons this Sunday.

Alan Bostick accidentally defined home for me one day -- a place where you can be your true self in safety and security. The Bay Area is my home. I can hold my lover's hand on the street here and not be afraid. I can talk about my life and my writing with no fear of judgement.

Yes, Gabriel likes it too. She loved living up among the redwoods; she had her own private highway into my room window, and she would come home with her fur aromatic of the forest itself. Down here in the Valley, she has the pleasure of a well-constructed cat highway atop the eight-foot wooden fence around our yard. She has lots of sunny days and clear nights for hunting, and plenty of small critters to go after.

After a lifetime of dreaming about Pennsylvania, I now have dreams set here, too. And realities.

No comments: