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Entry date: 10-14-2023 – Home Sweet Home – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I’ve learned to accept that I have this dual thing going on with feeling at home. I feel at home in Maine, and I feel at home in Phoenix. It may even be a triple thing, actually, because I feel quite comfortable on the road, too. Six times across the country in three years will do that to you.

I found myself counting the number of nights I’ve slept in different states. For example, I know that I have slept in California somewhere around 250 nights, probably, in my life. Maybe more. I don’t know why this interests me, probably the whole math of it, but it is something you think about on the road.

250 is a safe estimate, though. Maine is probably getting pretty close to 150 or so. It will overtake California soon, probably, as the place I have laid my head to rest the most outside of Arizona. Unless I move to Maine tomorrow and live to be about 105, Maine will never catch Arizona. I have resigned myself to this fact. It’s a load off my mind, really.

I love Northern California. Outside of Cleveland, maybe, it’s the only place I visited that almost instantly felt like home. There are parts of Southern California, too, that I really like, but I don’t think I would want to live there. Too many people for me to contemplate at this point in my life. For the right opportunity, though, I could see living near the Bay Area.

Third place is probably Georgia. I lived there for seven weeks during my Army experience, so I have not spent that much time anywhere else. Fourth place would be New Hampshire (if, again, I’m not including AZ) because of the job I had in 2013 that sent me there for a week a month for about six months. Come to think of it, Georgia and New Hampshire are probably closer than I thought.

After that, though, it is probably Ohio. I visited there twice as a kid for about a week or so each time and have stayed there a few more nights in the past few years. I like Ohio a lot and feel pretty comfortable there, too. There is something kinda homey about it. As I mentioned, Cleveland has a special place in my heart. It’s probably all the family up there, but I like the vibe of the city, too. When you are the butt of so many jokes, you become sort of tough and resilient and I admire that in a person or a city.

I would have moved to New Hampshire if the job would have wanted me to, as well. I was hoping that would be the case, actually, as it would have gotten us much closer to Doug and I liked that job a lot. Plus, other than playing in The Father Figures, in 2013, there was not a lot of good feeling for me in Arizona outside of family and friends.

Georgia never felt like home. It felt like a place that was trying to rid me of my soul. That’s what the Army does to a person like me, I suppose.

After Georgia and New Hampshire, there is probably only Colorado where I have slept more than 10 nights. I visited Granny and Papa up there a lot while I was in high school. I might have six or seven weeks up there, too, now that I think about it. Colorado was such a strange experience for me.

Granny and Papa were (and still are) so hugely important in my life. I remember wishing many times that I could just go up there and live with them. I thought maybe it would be a way to stay out of the trouble I thought was inevitable for me in Phoenix. I knew, in those high school days, that I was always on the verge of really fucking my life up. When I got up there, I felt safe and like I could make different choices.

I probably would have just found other kids, though, up there with an interest in punk rock, smoking week, dropping acid, and avoiding responsibility. I wasn’t self-aware enough yet to realize that no matter where you go, that’s where you are. Colorado Springs offered plenty of distractions, too, as I came to learn by watching my cousin Sage navigate high school life.

Phoenix is home even though I felt a certain level of “Uggh” as TQ and I drove in yesterday afternoon. I did not miss the traffic or the 90-degree temperature. After a week in 60-degree weather, I was sweating my ass off as I unpacked the car and started squaring things away. I kept thinking, “So many people. What are they doing?”

I have fully entered the “Get off my lawn” era of my life. I’m okay with it, I suppose, but there is a certain undercurrent or nagging feeling that goes with it. The feeling of “I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be a person that is good for my community.” Here is the whole duality thing again.

It’s good to be home. It’s bad to be away from fresh air and my wife (only for three more sleeps) and the family up in Maine. The next seven months or so will be what they will be. I’m sure they will fly by and I’ll be preparing myself for another 2800 mile drive.

See you tomorrow with more fun thoughts.

Did you know that Troy, NY is the home of Uncle Sam? We were stopped at a red light by this wonderful sign on Tuesday, October 10.

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