There are certain places where you feel more yourself than other places. I don’t know why this is true, but it is. And after a long drive from the blinky-blinky city of bling to this other one in the north that is mellow and friendly, I feel much better.
I’ve done that drive up the 5 like a million times now. I’ve got my little routines down. Stopping at the grocery to get certain snacks and lunch-like food beforehand (the freeway in the middle of California not exactly being a haven for the kosher vegetarian), fixing a little makeshift backrest, arranging for my 5-6 hour entertainment (sadly, it didn’t work out for me to see my bro along the way this time, but hopefully he’ll come by to see me here in the next couple of weeks.) I didn’t even break out the book on tape I had brought, which is pretty good–music, a few phone conversations, and singing along to the nusach stuff I had brought (to learn certain liturgical melodies I don’t yet know) as long as I could stand it pretty much kept me occupied. It took an extra hour to get through the rainy rush-hour traffic, and then finally I arrived at the place of some friends who are out of town and kindly allowing me to house-sit. I actually have two housesitting gigs, so I’ll be bouncing between East Egg and West Egg as the schedule dictates.
I would love to get to see everyone while I’m up here. I am so not going to be able to see everyone. It’s just a pity. For one thing, I don’t have time, for another thing, I have a deep need to just hang out alone, to take the location in, to get, sort of, nutrients from this particular placenta into my system. And I’ve got, like, work to do, too. (For those of you tuning in, I used to live here, have more dear friends than is reasonable or fair up here, and this city is once of the places that will always be home to me. Maybe more than any other place. Or maybe another place will ever feel more like home. Dunno.) Interestingly, I’m staying now in the neighborhood (well, one of them) where I used to live, right near my shul and where a number of different incarnations of myself have wandered. Always fascinating to see to where we get pulled back, no?
Okay. On to my day. I need to go to the ocean today. And to see friends. And if I have time, to go to the one place in the world that I trust to get a haircut, that dodgy place up on Polk that charges $18 and it’s always good. (I try to get haircuts other places, but there’s about a 20% success rate when I do. So if I know I’m coming back up here, I. Just. Wait. It’s simply safer that way.) And then to go back and daven at that place where I absolutely came of age Jewishly, where I learned all the anything about any of this stuff and figured out where the God went in it, where they amusingly hired a couple of my friends as clergy after I left…. Should be a nice day. Though probably weird, too. Still not used to this America thing, though as my friend Emerson pointed out, the country is not going to stop being blinky and shiny and big anytime soon, so I have plenty of time to adjust to it on my own schedule.