The Origins of Wanderlust

I sprung from the womb asking just one question:  Where’s the bus station? 

I had to laugh when I ran across some profound visual proof from my early years.

Clockwise from upper left……

I’m staring at a blank TV as if it’s the Oracle of Delphi and it’s going to answer my aforementioned question about the location of bus station.

The next one has me gazing longingly into the distance as if quietly planning an escape route. A bit difficult to go unnoticed when the landscape as far as the eye can see is flat as a flitter and that dude on the tractor in the distance might a) alert the grownups or b) be a serial killer. Hmmm…what’s a toddler to do?

Maybe the dog has some answers on how I can blow this taco stand.  He looks old and wise and seems to understand baby gibberish.

Lastly, my desperation has obviously reached fever pitch and I’m willing to flee with or without clothing.

These photos explain why my parents bought me a harness with a leash (not a joke). You know the kind I’m talking about. Liberal parents everywhere rose up against these barbaric devices of childhood confinement shaming safety conscious moms and dads to the point of going underground.  Knowing the kind of kid I was, I don’t blame my parents. My rebellion grew exponentially in my teens and even I, felt sorry for my folks….but that’s a different story.

As I got a little older, intellectualized my wanderlust (and finally put on some pants), I became that anywhere-but-here kid who carried around a misguided sense of resentment for being born into the mundane landscape of middle America rather than, say, the colorful, urban jungle of New York City or some laid back, free-spirited commune in Malibu with a name like Sunflower or Evergreen.

I don’t know what made me so restless but alas, I yam what I yam. Maybe I’m still suffering the fallout of past lives lived selfishly, despite being given chance after chance, never learning or evolving, stuck on a hamster wheel of self-indulgence rather than striving to reach true enlightenment through hard-earned wisdom and selflessness.

I can imagine Fate finally confronting my rebellious soul one last time like a parent at their wit’s end.

“Look, kid, you’ve fucked up 37 lives across every continent on the planet. You haven’t learned jack shit about how to grow as a human. You’re destined to end up in reality TV or talking to dogs or starting your own nudist colony if we don’t shake some sense into that stubborn pea brain. We’re sending you to Illinois where you’ll gain some solid Midwestern values, buy an American car, play some bingo, go to Sunday school, live through the era of the mullet and learn to appreciate…corn.”

I’m hoping I’ve learned a little. I think I have. I’ve definitely mellowed over the years. I actually do appreciate my Midwestern roots. It gives me a strong sense of place that’s comforting, solid and profoundly deep. My first car was indeed American made, albeit a bucket of rust held together by the road salt of many Illinois winters.  Sadly, I had my own version of a mullet in junior high probably inspired by Jane Fonda in Klute or the mom from The Brady Bunch.  (Oh, my, my, my…if only I had been born a Brady! In California no less…in a house with a stairway with NO banisters… and a maid! A maid?!)

As for the corn…well, who doesn’t love a vegetable that serves as a food AND a fuel additive?




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