Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

For the one percent of you who were born and raised in Los Angeles or the generally surrounding area, this may not have much meaning for you.  You may be better entertained by watching Seinfeld reruns.

But for the other 99% of us...

There is nothing quite like going  home, is there?  Driving through the streets you first raced down as a kid on your bike, then later in your first car as a snobby teenager.  With every turn, a different memory resurfaces from wherever they lay dormant while you're fighting LA traffic or stapling resumes to headshots.  As I pull out of my parents' street, I see flashbacks of hiding right there in the ditch when I would sneak out and wait for my ride to the post-football game party.  I drive by the houses along the street... I used to roller-blade in that basement.  The boy who was my first kiss lived in that house over there.  Another friend would climb up on her rooftop there and call me, and if I climbed up on mine we could just see each other.  We'd talk like that for hours.  

As I continue, I drive by the high school.  There's the football field where I ran under the bleachers as an elementary kid and later did push-ups on the track as a cheerleader when our team scored a touchdown.  There's the little cafe where my girlfriends and I would have lunch when we were old enough to have a car to drive to it and allowances to pay for it.

As much as I love the city and the amazing life I've created for myself there, coming home reminds me that much of who I am today was built right here, back home in the fields where I played flashlight tag until my parents flashed the porch lights when it was time to come home. 

It's also pretty entertaining to see who we've all become since we wore a gown and threw a tasseled cap into the air.  Some have moved, most have stayed, many are married with kids, some have even divorced.  My closest friends teasingly refer to me as "Hollywood" as we rehash the highlights of high school... like when I brought a tape recorder into freshman science class and defiantly told the teacher that I didn't have to pay attention because I was going to take notes at home later.  (True story.)  Or when I was sent to Saturday detention for sneaking through the off-limits storage area to knock on the door to the boys' locker room.  (Oooh, bad girl.)  I guess I've never been one to conform to traditional rules and authority. 

But that's a good thing, because traditional rules and authority would say that it's a mistake to pack up and move to Hollywood in pursuit of this career.  Well-intentioned adults would have suggested that I maybe create a backup plan or be something different altogether.  Many of my hometown folks wonder why I haven't yet "settled down" with a nice boy to start a family. 

There's a LOT more to do before this one "settles down."

In fact, I'm just getting warmed up.

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