Saturday, May 12, 2007

Charlottesville is my home planet

I had a startling realization today, as L and I made a mad dash to Charlottesville and back for a baptism and lunch at Take It Away: my home planet is this town. I look at myself, and I look at everyone else around here, and I realize that they are me.

The proof came when L and I got dressed to head down for the baptism, a pleasant, classy affair with some easygoing parents and their occasionally cranky baby. I was rocking a bright polo and some cargo shorts, and L was wearing a really pretty sun dress. She was like the hottest chick at the Kentucky Derby. Anyways, when we made it into town and went in to get our sandwiches, we looked around and quickly noticed that everyone looked exactly like us. All of the young men wore their polo shirts (what a spectrum of pastel bright colors, my own cerulean shirt effortlessly joining the parade!) untucked over khaki shorts or pants, ratty old flip flops beating the brick sidewalk; all of the women and coeds wore pretty sundresses or skirts with the same flips as L. Everyone was more tan than us, but their hair was the same length and color as ours. All of us were scrubbed, earnest, open-faced, and well-dressed, carrying ourselves with a certain confidence and easy happiness that comes from an elite education and a distinct familiarity with affluence. What a day to be young and alive! Khakis for everyone!

I have to admit, it felt good in a way. These were the good, decent, Polo-wearing white folk of Charlottesville! We saw nary a poor person. Nary a person of color. It was nothing like New York, nothing like real life. But to some degree it explained a lot about me and how I present myself and how I think things should be, for whatever that's worth.

Charlottesville is my home planet; Charlottesville is my Krypton. But New York is my home. A marriage between those two worlds may be impossible, but it's nice to visit your past in order to better appreciate your present. It will be good to return home in a little while.

Tomorrow we're flying out to Montana. More to come in a week.

No comments: