Believe it or not, I could write a whole lot more about what I saw, did and thought during my Oct trip to Cali+. I could tell you about:
The chick from Milwaukee who looked just like Parker Posey (only hotter)...The Speakeasy...The Amoeba haul...Lunch with my old boss...Catching up with Cap...My first time behind the wheel of a BMW...So much delicious Mexican food...The Halloween Party with the 'SC kids...Hanging out with Uncle Paul...And some other stuff I can't think of right now.
Truth is, there's only one parting thought I find to be appropriate. That would be: California is no longer my home.
I lusted for that place when I was a kid who was stuck in Ohio. To the point that I set the clock in my bedroom to Pacific Standard Time for months at a time. Moving west was more of an inevitability for me than it was a dream.
And I really loved living there. I mean, I hated a lot of things about it with equal fervor. But that's the kind of paradox that makes sense when you live in the Golden State. And, Cali truly was my shit. My spot. My home. I felt comfortable there in a way that I have never felt about any other place on earth. (Possible long-shot exception: Brooklyn.)
When I left in '05, I fully expected to return. Presumably with family in tow. (Which, of course, is another story altogether.) Upon landing temporarily in No Va, I fought viciously against the notion that it could be considered my "home."
(I still do. 'Cause I really don't fit there. But that is where I live. Currently. Alas...)
Going back to Cali this fall showed me that I can still be comfortable there. But not the kind of comfortable that I used to be. That I always wanted to be. The kind that mixes the mortar used to construct the notion of home in a person's heart and mind.
Perhaps I have left behind that time of my life as much as I've vacated my 9-1-something-something-something address. Perhaps those people and those experiences are as much a part of how I defined home as was the zip code. Perhaps I miss them as much as I miss the sun disappearing behind the Pacific.
Anyway you slice it, I'm not in Cali anymore, Toto. And I'm not sure when I will be again.
(Enough melancholy, son, I'm goin' to effin' Amsterdam. I'll get at you later. Peace.)