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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2004-03-27 (16:20)
In which our plucky young hero was class of ... '92? '93? Damn.

You can't go home again. My problem is, I can't go home.

I wasted an hour this afternoon googling around for any random mention of my old high school, trying to find someone I'd known back then, but had just forgotten in the haze that is my long-term memory. I'm pretty sure I failed; a whole bunch of hits on current students, and some on people who'd graduated either just before or just after me, but no familiar names. The only two who seem to keep a blog are myself and Steve. Nobody seems to be on Friendster or Orkut. As far as the net is concerned, my life before I left Nova Scotia never really existed. There's me, and there's Steve, and that's it. And for all you know, we've conspired to invent this so-called "past" I keep talking about. We're devious liars, us island folks.

Sometimes I joke that I'm the most famous person in my graduating class. Today, I got depressed that I'm probably right.

There are times I want to just pull up stakes and go back to Nova Scotia. Not "back home"; I never felt like I belonged there. Very quickly after moving out west, I found that I was referring to my new city as "home" and the best label the old town got was "the town where I grew up". I threw away my past and now I can't get it back.

But I don't want it back, do I? If I were to return I'd probably wither and die. I wouldn't have anything to do. I wouldn't know anybody. And worst of all, I don't own a car. I might as well go live on the moon. It sounds remarkably urban-asshole to say that I don't have anything in common with those people but I fear it's true. And even if it's not, the fact that I worry about it means that it'll come true.

Mostly it's nostalgia. I haven't been there for mumble years and I can still navigate around the old town like I was still there. Ask me directions to anywhere I ever went and I can still give them -- though the landmarks I'd use to orient you probably aren't there anymore. I'd give examples, but I don't want to turn into Moonie Pottie. Oh, the school she fled from in that one scene? It was on York Street, right across from Scott's house. From where I used to live, it's actually slightly quicker to go down to Union Street, then right onto Amelia, then left on York. Save you a minute or two, easy. Of course, when you get there now, as far as I know it's a vacant lot....

Partly it's Grosse Pointe Blank Syndrome. Everything was simpler when I was living there. I didn't have to worry about rent or taxes. I didn't have to figure out which candidate would do the best job getting funding for the TTC. I could read the daily paper in three minutes, two if I ignored the comics page. And I didn't have to kill the president of Paraguay with a fork. But all this is false reasoning; I didn't have to pay rent because I lived at home. I didn't have an income, so I didn't pay taxes. It's really just a slightly-higher-level way of saying "Man, if I knew then what I know now." Which of course would never work; to know then what you know now, you'd have to have someone tell you all this stuff. And we all know that the surest way to get a teenager to change their mind about something is to have an adult lecture them for their own good. (Side note: for a group that has such a ready immunity to rational self-interest, teenagers sure do end up Randroid easily.)

I can't go home again. The person who left Nova Scotia all that time ago, with a sense of entitlement matched only by his sense of adventure, is no more. My sense of entitlement has been steadily burnt away into low-grade resentment of the world (ha, I kid) (no, I don't) (yes I do). My sense of adventure is being eaten by the steady growing lurking snake of adulthood. I'm going to be a grownup someday! A grownup with a real job and a place he lives in all by himself! Who can dye his hair purple or get a tattoo or rob a bank and nobody can say anything! (Note to self: fact check the part about the bank.) Okay, maybe I'm responsible, but maybe that sense of adventure isn't dead yet. Take that, snake.

I can't go home again. So I might as well make my home in the here-and-now. I might as well look out my window, look upon Rosedale and the highrises on the horizon, and say "Mine." I might as well walk south on Spadina Avenue, look up at the CN Tower, and say "My city." I might as well look at my messy apartment and my messy improv experience and my messy love life and say "Home."

Hm. Y'know, it ain't so bad after all.

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