3:13 PM – PST
It’s a hot one. Still, my aunt claims it was warmer yesterday. I drove up I-5 this morning at 7:01 am and arrived just after noon. I am now far too well versed in every subtle turn, overpass, and turnoff that meets this monotonous road.
The drive was interesting. There was a confluence of 90s hip-hop, which seamlessly took me back to my youth and an audiobook I've been trying to wrap up for several weeks. The tunes I blasted early in the journey reminded me of the days I’d shuffle through my best friend Alex’s collection of Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, and KRS-1 albums in the Berkeley home where he spent most of his childhood.
There was also the completion of Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. I must admit a real sense of accomplishment washed over me after slowly chipping away, listening to its prose in the midst of merciless southern California traffic for weeks, maybe months on end. To round the voyage off there were also moments of silence, accompanied only by the sounds of acceleration as I zipped past massive trucks on this long two-lane highway.
Our beloved German Shepherd, Benson, barks as I enter the home. I know from now until the moment I leave he will not leave my side. He’ll rest where I rest and follow me throughout the house until it’s time for me to leave and see the world.
Coming home has been difficult, particularly the last 5 years. I grew up in Oakland, California and had a childhood filled with summer baseball games, BBQ’s, and meaningful friendships. When I would return from college and grad school it was always a respite, a place to rest, and be reminded of what was important in my life.
But within the last half decade it’s become a place where I no longer understand my identity to its surroundings, or people. I am nearly crippled by nostalgia at each turn. Each time I set foot in the house, my dad has a few more grey hairs, the same goes for my mom, now that she's decided to no longer dye her hair. Even my ageless aunt is moving about a tad bit slower, which has me reflecting on the days where everyone used to run around with boundless energy.
She asks me when I’m coming back from New York, or Los Angeles. It’s clear she wants me to move back home. Perhaps she thinks she doesn’t have much time and wants me nearby. Maybe that’s presumptuous, but I'd like to be closer to her as well.
Meanwhile, as far as the trip is concerned, I’m doing my best to figure out if going all the way to Tanzania from Israel is worth it. Maybe that’s another trip, yet I fear if not now, when? I was thinking of going straight to Tunisia from Israel then moseying on over to Morocco, and finally off to Spain. Definitely “First World Problems,” but a little stressful when it comes to piecing together a detailed plan. I guess I'll just figure it out as I go.
I texted one of my best friends this afternoon, Billy, a 36-year old nurse from Oakland, California and asked him the best piece of advice he’d ever received. Here’s what he said, “I actually think the best general advice I got was from attending meetings with my dad when he was in recovery. They always say don’t future trip, meaning don’t worry about what you can’t control.”