I grew up in a small town. 1000ish people total. 300ish in my entire high school. 45 in my graduating class. I had amazing friends in my high school years. People that I still hold so very close its insane, and yet... It was goddamn Wyoming. No matter how close you are to however many people, you are still going to have more than ample opportunity to form a relationship with isolation. I did. Its my best relationship ever. It takes a unique kind of person to live in Wyoming. It takes an entirely different kind of unique to CHOOSE to live there. Once the choice was mine to make...well...I chose no. For all the things I love about Wyoming, and there truly are very very many, the things I love most in my life...aren't there. So I had no choice but to leave. A piece of her came with me, and will always be there. I will always think of myself as a Wyoming boy. I hate cowboys. I hate country music. I hate all the things that are typically associated with Wyoming...but there it is. Its who I am. I was formed in her belly under open skies and cold wind.
When the impending apocolypse happens, whether it be Christian, Zombie, or Mayan, I will be able to pick up my shit...move to the mountains that I grew up in the shadow of, and live the rest of my days in isolated hermitry. I have mad survival skills. I can go up into the highest of the high wilderness, build my little shelter, and live off the land for as long as I need to. I grew up learning hunting, fishing, wilderness survival, camping, backpacking, moving around, exploring, navigation (without gps), and in general living with what the earth provides, regardless how hostile the environment. This is what happens when you grow up in a place where you have no choice but invent your own fun, and you have the biggest of all nature to do it in. This is what happens when your father passes down a love of nature that he got from his father, that came from...well...you get the idea. I was raised by mountain men.
I will probably die in a nursing home in Florida.
My father works in a mine. Over 1000 feet underground. He mines Trona. You've most likely never heard of it, but you also most likely use its byproducts daily. He works in the largest trona deposit in the world. My dad, who is a Vietnam vet, and a mole, and knows and has taught me more about living in nature than any Bear Grylls bullshit I've ever seen, was a Humanities major in college. Not only did he instill in me a great respect and understanding of the outdoors, he also gave me culture. In Wyoming. I learned from him also a love of history, civilization, art appreciation, music, mythology, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Shakespeare, Dante, The Beatles, and oh so many many other things. Mostly from him, I learned to love learning, and to seek the things I loved learning about. In my tiny little town, (pre-dating internet) the only way to do this was to go to the Library. I did. Often. The more I did, the more I realized that when the time came, I would have no choice but to leave. Although giving me the world, I had no access to it.
Since turning 18, I have lived in nearly every state west of Colorado. Some places for a few years, others, no longer than a summer. Eugene Oregon I lived in for less than three months...and loved every second of it. I've seen the beaches, the mountains, The Grand Canyon, the deserts, the prairies, the casinos, the whore houses, the architectual achievements, the ghost towns, the ghettos, the slums, the hills, the bars, the clubs, the museums, the concert halls, the zoos, the stadiums, the lighthouses. I have been lost on the back roads, I've been stranded on freeways. I've couch surfed, and body surfed. I swam with a seal once. I've partied with showgirls, and rock stars, and chatted with movie stars and film directors. I've eaten with comedians, and magicians. I was once offered a freebie by one of the working girls at the Bunny Ranch. I turned her down. I've high fived sports stars. I've smoked with television celebrities.
I've done all those things. Sounds exciting huh? In each their own moment, they all seemed rather...well...normal.
Now I ain't no Johnny Cash. I have in fact NOT been everywhere, but I've been places. I've traveled around a bit. I've seen my share of shit.
I don't settle.
I can't settle.
I have never...not once...felt a sense of being home.
"You can't go home again." - Thomas Wolfe
"Especially if you've never had one." - JayC Stoddard.
I have an insatiable wanderlust. Its not even the joy of travel and vacationing that people talk about. I honestly don't care about places. I simply always feel the need to keep moving. I don't know what I'm looking for...truth is...I don't think I'm looking for anything at all. I just can't put my feet in the ground. I can't tie myself to a place and call it my own.
The longest I lived anywhere after leaving Wyoming, was Vegas. I was there for seven years. I miss it. I honestly do. Vegas is in me now as much as Wyoming ever was. But I think I've finally come to the conclusion/realization that I'm not going back. It was actually a difficult moment for me, as I miss oh so very many things about it. Oh so very many people that are still there. Deeply. People that I think fondly of on a daily basis. Vegas however, for all the things I love and miss, is not my home.
Neither is Salt Lake City.
This week I am losing another, incredibly close friend to distance. She is moving out of my life, and I'd be lying if I said the thought hadn't entered my mind to follow. That however was passing fancy. Fantasy. Silliness. Her life and mine are no longer twining, and although sad...it is simply the course that life takes. Often. Many times its been me the one that picks up and leaves. This time...I'm the one staying. C'est la vie. Que sera sera. And a whole bunch of other foreign phrases that mean essentially the same things.
For all the things I love about Vegas, SLC has nearly none of them. I think that's why I miss Vegas so very much. Its the intangible. The untouchable. The forever out of reach. Like so many other things I've become accustomed to. There are simply things in this world I am going to have to do without. So what if it happens to be gambling and strippers. There truly are many other things too, but since I know that's what most people associate Vegas with, I figured I might as well...
So. Here I am. In this town that I seemingly bitch about. And the reality is...sometimes I really do. I don't love it here. There are so many things that bother me. Of all the places I've lived. Of all the roads I've traveled, SLC is the LEAST pedestrian friendly city of them all. If you walk in SLC, pretty much everyone hates you. Especially city planners. And the transit system was pretty much thrown together as an afterthought. Everything closes. Usually early. Unique food? Forget it. If you like chains, its fine...but if you want something a bit different...oh its here, sure...but you REALLY have to look for it.
It gets cold here. Really fucking cold. And I am without doubt, the worlds biggest pussy when it comes to the cold. I shiver if its below 60. I was built for Vegas weather...and even there, I'd bitch about the winters.
I could go on and on about all the various things I don't like. I won't. I didn't mean to turn this into that kind of blog.
Instead I'll simply say...
I'm staying here.
Now I don't know the future. As previously mentioned, I am a wanderer. I move around. I am homeless. I can be picked up and blown by any kind of wind...but I think in this case...
It's going to have to be a pretty strong wind. If I got offered the dream job of a lifetime in some other city...of course my bags would be packed and off I'd go, but as I'm not looking or applying for any such job, the likelihood seems nil.
SLC is not my home. I don't know that I will ever actually have one. It is however, I've come to realize, my home base. It is the place I've learned to hang my hat. For all the shit I talked about NOT liking...there really are so many more things that I DO like. Many of those things have names and lives of their own. There are people here that I love. There are things here that I feel I've yet to do. To accomplish. There are actors and actresses that I haven't yet worked with, that I so desperately WANT to work with. There are stories to be told. There are stories to discover. There are stories to make. I think for me...that all is going to happen right here.
So I sit on my porch. I smoke my cigarette. I feel the air penetrate me. Violate me like a back alley rapist, and I laugh. I didn't mean to be here, but here I am. My wandering feet have stopped dancing for a moment. I will still travel I think, but perhaps with more purpose, but less intent. I know that I will never in my life consider this my home...but I do believe that there are things and people here that will make it more homey. That will let me play here. I won't ever settle, but I've come to realize, I don't think I'll ever settle anywhere. So I might as well not settle here for a bit longer. Perhaps til I die.
Or until a really strong breeze comes my way.