Tuesday, January 06, 2004

This is the longest I have ever stayed in a town that made me so miserable. I’m not counting my kid years, of course. But when you are a kid you don’t have much control over where your parents drag you. If it had been up to me at the time, I never would have left Iran. When we finally came here for good, it was right in the midst of the “war of the cities” phase of the Iran-Iraq war. So my parents used to try to talk some sense into me, reminding me that if we went back, we’d have to deal with imminent danger, food shortages, and all the rest. It sounded good to me! I was fresh-off-the-boat in a rich white town, and I was entering the fifth grade, which also happens to be the year when most girls’ bodies start to change in every which way. So pretty much any situation seemed preferable to the one I was in.

Nowadays, I don’t have much of an excuse. I could ostensibly move to a nearby town and commute. Lots of people do it. But the nearest “cool” town around here I’ve already lived in, and there is always a feeling of regression when you make a move back to a place, particularly if you feel like you haven’t outwardly changed a whole hell of a lot. However, I am seriously considering moving to the nearest “un-cool” town. At least there will be some diversity. This place I live in now is unquestionably beautiful, but it is unbelievably homogenous. I pretty much conduct myself as though I don’t live here. I don’t know the names and locations of some of the most basic streets. When out of towners come to visit me and take a wrong turn off the freeway, for example, I can’t give them straightforward directions to my house. I don’t make eye-contact with others when I walk down the streets, and when I am on the bus, I dutifully put on my don’t-sit-next-to-me face. I know, it sounds like I’m a big curmudgeon, but I really think that there are no in betweens when it comes to this place. People either adore it to no end or it drives them crazy to be here for more than 48 hours at a time.