Thursday, September 28, 2006

Home for the (Jewish) Holidays

Coming home to Armonk is always a cathartic experience. There is something calming about sleeping in my own bed, surrounding myself with my old memories and, since I always forget to bring a change of cloths, draping myself in my old belongings.

My bedroom is a worm-like portal into a not-so-distant past: my shelves are
lined with old soccer trophies, SATs prep books and dated ticket stubs (which, somehow, managed to make it this far un-crumpled).

Time literally stands still. My cell phone doesn’t work and my alarm clock has long since run out of batteries. When I toss-and-turn at night, I have no idea how late it is or how long until my Dad will wake me up for temple.

Since my family moved into a new house when I was in high school, my true
“growing up home memories” are already tucked in distant corner of my mind, locked away awaiting some late night blog entry. Instead, returning home reminds me off my. adolescent years and the gentrified, 21st century planned community my family now calls home. It’s funny how time changes your perception. Earlier this summer, I took a train to Westchester to have lunch with an old friend I see far too little, whose wedding day approaches with rapid speed. As Metro North zipped through suburbia, I felt a strange disconnect to my surroundings, like I no longer belonged. I'm the type of person who enjoys life more in retrospect, but I've reached an odd stalemate with my adolescent aggression: not quite far enough from home to feel nostalgic, too far removed to remember why I was angry.

When builders first excavated the lot of land now known as Thomas Wright Estates. they found a somewhat magical spring emitting from the side of the street. People came from all over for a slip, filing in line and filling their jugs for future healing. Then, one day, someone discovered a broken city pipe not so far away, the line connecting an imaginary fountain or youth to a harsh, suburban reality.

In the 1970s, my adult neighbors smoked pot and made babies at Watkins Glen. In the mid-1990s, they knocked down trees and built houses in Armonk. They are part of a generation of suburban settlers, the nouveau riche. Like many, they arrived to give their kids a better life, but I'm not sure how many of them remember that. I don’t blame them. It’s hard to look backward while trying to figure out how to move forward.


Greg said...

Wow, you're from Armonk. I had no clue. I grew up in Ossining but worked at Ben & Jerrys in Mt Kisco from about 91-93 and "hung out" in armonk with kids I worked with.... May have even left some graffiti around town (shhhhh... I was a stupid minor).... my tag (though probably, and hopefully, well white-washed over) was "BACO1" - I was SO COOL.

Anonymous said...

hey mike. its wasserman's friend craig. we've met multiple times. your piece about coming back to armonk is so on the money. every time feels more and more detached. i love reading yoru work. great insight. keep it up. if you aren't coming on the jamcruise and want someone to keeo a journal or record stuff my girlfriend is a very gited writer and im not so bad myself. keep in touch.