I’m packing for a trip to Memphis, for what will probably be the last time in the foreseeable future. I can’t really say that I’ll miss it. It’s a great place to be from, I guess, and the instant Elvis-and-Jack-Daniels association it has in the eyes of Europeans has started many an interesting train conversation. But most everyone I know, save a couple of friends and a pile of Facebook acquaintances, has moved on. My mother was a compelling reason to book a flight, but she’s gone now, too, and my stepfather moved shortly thereafter to San Diego. Even the Last Cat Standing in the ten year battle over the house has found a new home. All that’s left is the house itself, full of stuff. Most of this stuff is future garbage, if it isn’t already present garbage, which I’m off to dig through in order to find the small bits that aren’t.
This is doubly weird, as Memphis is basically the capital of my past, and it’s pretty much impossible to travel there without also traveling in time.
I haven’t lived there for sixteen years, but up until I left the States it was always “back home”. It’s said you can never go back, but this sentiment, I think, might be reserved for people who haven’t moved across an ocean. Everything here — the sights, the sounds, the smells — is still basically new, so the old senses tie stronger to the old memories. My America clock is stuck in 2008. I can’t even see Germantown Parkway without being thrown back into a shopping trip for turkey for some Thanksgiving past, and the unremitting ugliness of Germantown Parkway is not one of those things that people get misty about.
On a more practical note, for those of you who are actually reading this, I’ll be disappearing for a while. No Internet out at the house, bouncing back and forth between Memphis and Atlanta, then going to Prague for a week and a half, where it’ll be busy. See y’all in April.