Stranger v. Alien

After spending almost a week at Avdi’s, I don’t feel quite as much of that lost, uprooted (landmark-less?) feeling.  I walked there and back today to retrieve my book and reading glasses, and it felt more familiar at that end of Webster Groves, while my apartment was a novelty after being away so long.

I realized something while walking home (which end of the street is “home” is unclear at this point).  It’s not so much that I’m particularly an alien here in STL, because I’ve lived so many diverse places for varying lengths of time, and never really felt completely “home” or “settled” in any of them, especially the last one.  I’ve always tried to travel lighter and leave baggage behind, both literally and figuratively.  STL is essentially just the latest stop on the journey toward not taking it with me.  I wouldn’t know where “home” is or what that would feel like.

But I’ve always related to the “stranger in a strange land” concept, which is pretty much anywhere.  I never quite get comfortable or familiar with a place, and I seem to lack the instinct to dig in somewhere and build the illusion of security around me.  I may surround myself with a few meaningful, symbolic objects to express my sense of self or autonomy, which may or may not travel with me as I move on to the next impermanent stop.  On rare occasions, I may have felt briefly “at home” with some significant person in my life, wherever they happened to be, but it was few and far between, not in recent memory.  It was a mental/emotional place, not a physical location to become attached to.

I suppose I’m saying I may never feel any more at home or attached to STL than any other place I’ve been, though it does have its own unique attractions.  The fact that my son lives here at the moment is it’s main and biggest draw, like an irresistible magnet, or gravitational pull, the reason I’m here at all, after having allowed myself to be lost in space for decades.  If he moves again, it’s a foregone conclusion he’ll be stuck with me, if I’m still around!  Even to the ends of the earth, if necessary.  Even, say, Germany.  Stranger things, as they say.

But I draw the line at Mars.  Too alien, cold, and dead for my taste.  Even more sterile and unnatural than some Midwest towns I’ve lived in.  I like my Terran plants and animals, and a few decent humans, around.


Leave a Reply