Annnnd just like that, I’m home.
Well, sort of home. And not exactly ‘just like that.’
Loose Definition of Home: Guest bedrooms in Madison and Minneapolis. My actual Home is occupied until August 2015, so I’ll be bouncing between friends and family trying to earn my keep and not overstay my welcome. It was an incredibly weird feeling driving into Madison, Wisconsin, the city I’ve called home for the past 15 years, knowing all of my belongings were hanging out in a house I couldn’t enter, couldn’t live in, for eight more months. To be fair, the Dinndorf Haus is the next best thing. Even when I did have a home to go to, it was not uncommon for me to get lost in the folds of their couch for extremely inappropriate amounts of time as an adult human being. A few years ago, I spent four winter days in Lisa’s pajamas, watching reality TV and saving the Princess in Super Mario Brothers 3 (every world, every level, warp whistles forbidden) with Lisa and her sister. We still fondly look back on that magical moment. Because it was amazing.
‘Just like that’: Might be simplifying things. My stranger friend (the one to whom I loaned my vehicle) picked me up at the airport as planned. We grabbed some delicious pizza and even more delicious beer, as planned. But the moment I climbed into my truck, the crazy part of me took all future plans and shoved them hastily into The Loose Plan Shredder. I knew I would not be spending the weekend in New York, visiting friends like planned (sorry Brian, you’re the best). I knew I would not be waiting until Monday to drive over halfway across the country to Montana with my stranger friend, as planned. I knew I would be driving solo. And that stranger friend would remain a stranger.
I pretended I didn’t know these things. I pretended that maybe the loose plans would reassemble themselves in the night, while jet lag stopped messing with my mind. That maybe I would figure something out and not totally ditch all future adventures made with an unassuming stranger. That I wouldn’t send an awkward text message three hours into my drive back to Wisconsin, “Soooo, something happened when I got in my car.” That I wouldn’t get a phone call from stranger friend, “Something happened like you got lost in the city? Oooor you’re in Pennsylvania.”
But that’s exactly what happened. Behind the wheel of my car, I tasted freedom and remembered what home felt like. (I mean, my relationship with my car is the longest I’ve had with anything other than my cat. It’s weirdly intense.) I didn’t want to be in New York. I didn’t want to be with any stranger friends. I didn’t want to wait for anyone, explain anything. I just wanted to drive 14.5 hours in the closest thing I have to a home of my own right now, yell-singing every single song on the radio, (being able to sing loudly and terribly in private is literally the only thing I truly noticed was missing in my life abroad. Oh, and hot sauce. All the hot sauce.) and be in Wisconsin, getting assy on the Dinndorf couch.
So. Without further thought, that’s what I did. Running on pure adrenaline, stopping only for gas and coffee, peeing only on gas stops, eating nothing, I rolled into the Dinndorf Haus an hour earlier than Google Maps predicted.
And five minutes after I walked into the Dinndorf residence, after the hugs and hellos, Neil stated the obvious.
Yeah, I’ll be honest, it’s kind of like you never left.
And he’s right. I’m just…back. The past ten months happened, I was somewhere else, and now I’m here.