and I can go anywhere I want
I can go anywhere I want,
just not home.
-taylor swift, “my tears ricochet,” folklore (2020)
Portland feels like a dream that never happened sometimes. So I love my Portland friends. I cherish my Portland State diploma on the wall. It’s surrounded by family pictures. My master’s degree is surrounded by stars of VH1’s Celebreality.
Florida will never be home, but my condo is home. An oasis in this boiling hellscape where it’s always 69 degrees (nice) and the blackout shades keep the oppressive sunshine at bay. I get whatever is the opposite of seasonal affective disorder. Sunshine makes me miserable.
Home is an aspiration, a goal, a pedestal. That perfect place that gets you and you get in return. That fits you like Goldilocks– not too expensive, not too big, not too small, not too run down but not too gentrified. Close to other things. Good health care. Weather you can tolerate.
And baby, it ain’t Florida.
I’m not entirely sure it’s Portland, either. I might have been priced out.
I think a lot about home, while knowing I’m going nowhere soon. I’m sick and right now I need to be near my people. I need my family and friends. Friends, I could possibly convince to come with me somewhere else down the line. Family, for some ungodly reason, love living in this boiling red state. I guess they’re immune to MAGA stickers.
I see them and I can feel every part of me wanting to hunt the driver down and stalk them until they feel truly terrorized by a liberal. Just so they know what it -actually- feels like.
Sorry, was that an intrusive thought?
So I’m here, with people I love in a state I hate, a state that willfully tries to sabotage my life and my quality of living, but hey, my quality of life is meaningless next to a bunch of people enjoying hot weather, right? Spending half the year getting heat stroke related to MS is a sacrifice worth making in my car with no air conditioning so the family can have their red-tide riddle, COVID-infested, Republican-led “Paradise.”
If Florida was ever paradise, it stopped being that long ago, back when I was a child, when the weather was less volatile and life was more innocent and I wasn’t having hot flashes that turn into heat stroke and then I’m supposed to get into a hot care every goddamn day and feel okay.
People who are okay don’t vomit after a trip to the grocery store.
They don’t get light-headed when the temperature goes above eighty.
This state is hostile to me by nature and nurture.
But isn’t the winter kind of nice?
Someday I’ll find my place, someday I’ll find my home.
But it ain’t gonna be nuzzled in Florida’s disgusting sweaty dick.
For now, home is a cold condo and five great roommates. Home is three jerky dogs. Home is a house full of posters. Home is medical marijuana that is way too fuckin’ expensive, the beating sun on the beater car, and teetering on the bring of heat stroke.
But most of all, home is Mom. I don’t begrudge her finding her home. I begrudge this illness trapping me here for now. Home is not a place right now. Home is people and things and avoiding the place as much as possible.
Which is, perhaps, the best attitude to have in a pandemic. Shelter in place.