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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Hyperreality of Home

My father moved around a lot when I was growing up. I lose track when counting all of the homes that we lived in, but there must have been at least 12 that I can remember before the age of 12 when I went to live with my mom; the house in Lake Havasu, the house on Terrace, the house on Brown... Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Missouri, back to Arizona, back to Missouri, and back to Arizona again. It was all very exhausting and annoying for a pre-teen.

Whenever we found ourselves in Phoenix, my dad would drive by our old house on Terrace. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe because my sisters and I pleaded with him to do so, because it seemed like our home that never was. I don't know what was so special to us about that house. When we moved I must have been just six years old, but I always wanted to drive by it.

This was my first experience with the disemboweling feeling of nostalgia and the useless grasping at a fleeting sense of home.

I inherited both habits from my father, the aimless moving around and the drive-by nostalgic self-torturing. I've lived in fourteen homes since I left my parents house at 18, the average time spent at each place being one year.

It turns out there is one house, my current house, that I moved into accepting its status of infra-home, with the intention of staying just until our lease was up and moving somewhere else. It was a temporary move, a stepping stone. This just so happens to be the house I've lived in the longest (3.5 years) second only to the house I graduated from high school in (6 years).

This is as home as home gets.

But it isn't.

The most authentic, vivid feeling of home that is able to tug at my heartstrings is only present in its residual form. It only really happens once I have left a place.

Yes, I know home should be wherever Luigi and kitty are. In theory it is. But inside I'm in some sort of home-purgatory. It isn't that home is unreal. It's hyperreal. My own misrepresentational memories of it have filtered and recreated an unrealistic expectation in my mind of what home is supposed to feel like.

I'm the idiot tourist described by Baudrillard walking through Disneyland nostalgic for the Main Street America depicted there that was never real to begin with.

Do you know what this means?

It only means that I'm horribly, pathetically ungrateful. Believe me, I realize this. No need to point it out.

I can see myself though, in the future, driving or walking passed my street, and not being able to turn my head away from looking down it, thinking about the people that are occupying the ossuary of my home, sleeping in my room and larcenously taking a shit in my toilet. The nerve.

Tea with the Mad Hatter by fd from Flickr.

Welcome to Disneyland and Main Street, USA by andy castro from Flickr

This post was originally published at my old site. Sorry I couldn't import your comments.


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