Like any self-respecting college graduate, I mostly loathe my hometown. For an affluent area, it seems to be overrun by pregnant ex-cheerleaders and community college dropouts. It’s as if upon walking across the stage at graduation, there were two possible paths: college, and white trashville, with absolutely no in between.
College acted as a foil for home. That taste of freedom mixed with 151 taught you exactly how miserable an existence filled with high school drama, parental “rules,” and half-priced appetizers at Applebee’s truly was. Some of your views toward your parents’ home have changed since college. You no longer view it as a bank and your argument has shifted from “I’m not a child!” to “I’m not a real adult yet,” but one thing has largely remained the same. The ideal that “home sucks” has stuck with you.
It’s just so filled with ex-boyfriends, their bitch mothers, and a newfound realization that sex in someone else’s basement is ten different kinds of inappropriate. You desperately tried to avoid most of your classmates when you were forced to interact with them during your time at the oversized nursery known as “high school,” so there is no way you would willingly engage in a social interaction with them now. All two of your high school friends have gotten the fuck out of that hellhole, and gone on to big cities, with bars frequented by folks other than 40-year-old men trying to escape their wives, and 50-year-old men celebrating having escaped their ex-wives. So, at home, your social outlets are limited to 140 characters and a Mayfair filter.
Then, there’s your family. Every time you see your father, he reminds you of another bill he’s going to stop paying as he talks himself in circles, citing cliches like “That’s what life’s about,” bringing you no closer to ever realizing what life is about. Your mother will never miss an opportunity to tell you how old (and more importantly, unmarried) you’re starting to look (Really?! 35? I AM TWENTY-FOUR!!! Just four years ago, I was stealing your liquor and refilling the bottle with water, and you think I look like I could be at high risk for Down’s syndrome babies?! Sorry about the liquor, by the way — not for stealing it, but for watering down good vodka.). Your younger sibling can barely even be bothered to spend any time with you, because it’s Thursday night, and he can not miss a Thursday night. Even though this Thursday will be exactly the same as every other Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night he has ever experienced and will ever experience throughout the duration of his four years of college, you’re just connected enough to your own school days to realize that somehow, the one night you miss actually does end up being the greatest night ever, so you’ll have one rushed lunch and see him when he graduates.
Yes, home is an awful, awful place. As certainly as you know
your age your number of sex partners the importance of befriending the omelet lady at your office’s cafeteria, you know this. This knowledge was permanently ingrained in your mind during that year you took off to travel do absolutely nothing with your life but disappoint your parents and mourn your collegiate tenure, but suddenly, on a visit, you find yourself excited to be in the place you ran from like it was on fire.
Your mother, though critical, cooks for you without the use of a microwave. You reminisce with your home friends about that anatomy teacher who dissected a cat without gloves, and the first time you ever saw a penis (ahhh, memories) and you remember how much you like them (your friends, not penises…well, penises too). You find that you’d texted every person you even slightly like to prepare them for your arrival, and you’ve spread yourself too thin. You see everyone, but just for a little and don’t have enough time for any of them (nor do you have time for any of them to get on your nerves). You don’t get to go to all of your favorite restaurants, bars, or beaches. You get just a little taste of home, and somehow, it’s not enough.
You find yourself wanting, for a brief moment, to move back. You even consider going to your high school reunion — it’s not for another four years, but you already RSVP’d “No” in 2008. Of course, that would be crazy, but you’re struggling to remember why your relationship with your hometown, and with the people living in it works best when there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles separating you. Extend your visit home to a full week sometime and you’ll never forget it again.
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