21. Public transportation
Give me the tube, strikes and all. I forget how difficult it is to get around in the US without a car. I know people manage but it really is a bummer.
Sure, the big cities have public transportation and a car is unnecessary, but the majority of the population in the US need a car to get anything done.
This morning I drove my mum to work so I could have the car for the day and run some errands. The first few times I get behind a wheel again I am always anxious. It is a far cry from my driving style prior to the great migration across the ocean, but I find slow and steady allows me plenty of space to be cautious. In the busiest lanes and at the busiest times, I find if I go the speed limit I am usually left behind the rush and have all lanes to myself and can take time with my driving decisions.
This is what happens when you stop driving for two years, drive a motorhome for six months, and then return to not driving. You become that woman who grips the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 position and sits bolt upright.
I can’t have music in the car anymore until I know where I am going and get the new map straight in my head.
It is an odd thing to be unfamiliar with the place you come from. Cleveland still stirs an emotional response in me, but it is becoming increasingly unfamiliar the more I make a home for Pete and I in Greenwich. But that’s part of the process of growing up, yes?
It hasn’t got to the point where everything suddenly looks smaller. Although I have yet to return to the Lorain county suburb where I went to High School. I haven’t been back there in close to a decade. Wait, that’s a lie. We went there during the wedding extravaganza for a minor league baseball game. But as that stadium is brand new and we didn’t venture any further, I don’t think it really counts. There was no nostalgia attached to the event. Part of the reason I have avoided this area of town is because I am a bit fearful of what I might find there. I am sure it no longer looks the way I remember from my childhood and bursting those memories will not be an enjoyable experience. I like my sunny, sparkly memories of Dunny Ave and Ferndale Park and Shoreway Shopping Center as they are. Reality might be a bitter pill.
I know memory is a relative thing. Hell, I wrote a doctoral thesis on the shifting nature of memory (among other things) but knowing it and seeing it are two very different beasts.
I would like to keep my memories of my childhood home as they are, for now.
Today I am thankful for public transport, not just because I miss it, but also because the missing of it makes me mindful of the two very different places that make up my idea of ‘home.’ The one I came from and the one I am making.