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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

home again

It was the dead of winter. In Sydney. So probably can't really use 'dead of.'  

It was August.

Sure, it was two months ago but that's not the point, this is.

We were going home for a visit and we were experiencing some serious pent-up excitement. It was to be the first time this family four pack had been back since we left the country in 2010. In Charlie years, half his tiny adorable life. One third of Max's dimple time. We couldn't wait to see our people.

Second up on the emotion list:  scared shitless.

The thing about moving away from LA, with every intention of returning to live in LA, is doubt exists and when enough time and moments and TV seasons have passed and you can't remember for the life of you if The Grove is on 3rd or Beverly, it shows up on your doorstep. Unannounced. With a key. And a real mean point to make.

Doubt:  (real mean-like)  Seriously? LA? LA LA? You're actually thinking of one day leaving Sydney -- this picture perfect postcard place that has those people you now can't live without and those ferries you're always on -- to move back to Los Angeles?

Me:  (suddenly full of doubt)  Huh? Well. One day.

Doubt:  (now way meaner)  LA DOESN'T HAVE FERRIES!

Me:  (still trying to figure out where The Grove is)  What?

Doubt:  Dumbass.

Did doubt just call me a dumbass?!

And with that, you'll throw doubt out the door and chase it with a slam. Because no one calls you dumbass in your own house. To your face. But it will be too late. The damage will have been done, and any time you try to think anything, you will always end up back at the same place:  'Am I a dumbass?' So you'll call your husband to find out the answer only to learn that doubt swung by his office and called him a dumbass too.

Dumbass 1:  I mean, our plan was always to move back. Our friends, our family, my--

(career cut off again)

Dumbass 2:  I know we've always said that, but.

Dumbass 1:  But what? What if we no longer like LA?

Dumbass 2:  What if we hate it?

Dumbass 1:  Or.  (real mean-like)  What if it hates us more?

And that is how a pact between two dumbasses is born. We decided this and nothing else:  We'd go, we'd see, we're reassess.

We landed at 6:15 am in Los Angeles after departing Sydney at 9:30 am on the same exact Saturday. Try to explain that to a six-year old. The husband and I had four blinks of sleep between us because the airport chemist sold me a mislabeled why-am-I-still-awake?! pill. We were exhausted and in no condition to judge a potato chip much less the fate of an entire city but from the moment we were jostled out of LAX, judge we did.

The air. Had thick layers of not blue. Should air have layers? The 405 had no answers for us because it was under construction. Again. How much wider could a freeway get and still be called a freeway? We didn't know so we got off and made the mistake of going through our old neighborhood. Brentwood adjacent. When we lived there, it felt like almost Brentwood. Now that we don't, all we could see was the adjacent. Multiple closed down businesses left for dead. A new ihop restaurant in old Blockbuster bones felt offensive. Abandoned shopping carts desperate for a push. It was depressing. And if Giggles and Hugs couldn't make it in West LA, what made us think we could? That was rhetorical but Coffee Bean didn't care. The giant cup of hotness they served me that made my tongue mad was a statement. A statement that said, "Get out!"

So we got out. Out of Santa Monica. Out of West LA. Out of Brentwood adjacent. And started our journey to Sherman Oaks, to our friends' house, in traumatized silence. Only one hour into visit home, I had bad thoughts. I know my husband had bad thoughts too. My children verbalized other thoughts: "When will we be in America?" Things were clearly not going well in our assessment process.

I stared out the window with worry and not enough sunscreen and WHERE WERE THE FERRIES?!

And then.

We saw our first friend. Our first family. Our children played with their children like it was what they were born to do. The parade of people and all four parents and parties and dinners and cousins and so many kids and the W and birthdays and dogs and my sweet little 96-year-old grandmother on her very last day on this planet.

And that was it.

We were homesick for it all.

Mr. & Mrs. Dumbass

Target visit #3.

The airport where one of our children declared to another passenger
in the Southwest boarding line:   Guess what. I'm an American!

J Crew at The Grove.
Corner of Fairfax & W. 3rd.

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