November 7, 2012

home is a mystery

"There is something false and perverse in my playing the observer, I who have lived here as long as anyone. Still these bright streets do not belong to me and I feel, not like someone who chose to move away, but as if I had been, as the expression goes, 'run out of town.' I can remember only one person to whom that disgrace actually happened and he was a dapper, fastidious little man who spoke in what we used to call a 'cultured' voice and spent the long, beautiful afternoons in the park beside the wading pond in which the children under five played. No doubt he too went to New York, the exile for those with evil thoughts."
—"Evenings at Home," Elizabeth Hardwick
I had forgotten all about this story until last night. The narrator goes back to her hometown but doesn't feel like she belongs there. Even though she technically moved away by choice, she doesn't feel like it was really a choice at all; she just never really belonged. I guess I can identify with that.

I feel like I will always be an observer here in New York. Look at that picture, for gosh sakes. This grand city will never feel like it's mine. The closest I can come to possessing it is when I'm annoyed at passersby. Or when I've lost power in the hurricane...or when I'm cursing the snow and wishing I was somewhere warmer. In other words, it only really feels like home when I'm complaining about it like an old lady complains about being stuck with her husband. I'm stuck with it, but it couldn't give a damn about me. And that's ok by me.

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