One mad dash in an airport, one jar of forcibly discarded peanut butter, my inaugural first-class experience complete with whisky, five days in a beloved city, three haphazardly finished final projects, a handful of not-so-final goodbyes, and one eager familial greeting at an airport after watching my airplane acquaintance, a man, walk into the women’s bathroom…..and I’m home.
Have I missed Oklahoma? Of course not. I’ve missed the humans that inhabit its suburban sprawls, specifically the ones that populate a small brick structure in an unremarkable town known for its ability to grow children well and then make them to want to leave.
The feeling of home, for me, is a combination of extreme fondness coupled with the intense panic at the thought I might never escape. Escape might seem a strong term to those who find Oklahoma’s tender chicken fried steak more toothsome than even the most succulent Kobe beef. And that’s fine. Here in America we have the sometimes ill-advised freedom to maintain and revel in our ignorance though we risk people on the coasts mocking us for it. I, however, have always needed to get away from Oklahoma, my efforts landing me most recently in Egypt where I have had a most rewarding experience.
Nevertheless, towards the end of the semester, I was looking forward to being in America, where I could walk down the street without turning even one brow, where honking the horn is the exception not the rule, and where there are sidewalks–usable, beautiful, sidewalks. America was once again the promised land, and my home, the most familiar place on earth, was now the object of my yearning.
Despite all this, as soon as I got off the airplane in Oklahoma City I remembered why I had wanted to escape. It’s not because I suddenly recalled how much I resent my dog or the fact my family only got a big screen tv as soon as I had left the country after waiting 18 years to upgrade. It’s not the annoying Central Plains female haircut or the cowboy boots that are as plentiful as Cairo street cats on a garbage pile.
It’s the fact I’m a wanted criminal. Forget all that sentimental mumbo-jumbo. I’m on the run and have been ever since my senior year in high school. After all that crazy revolutionary time in Egypt, I forgot the charges have not been dropped and that police officers with gravy still wet on their whistles will be hot on my tail as soon as I step foot inside my county, which I have already done.
So…thanks for the soup, Ma, and I hope you enjoy the cannolis since I won’t be coming back until some kind of computer virus destroys the record databases, expunging me of all crimes. PEACE!
Note: this is a joke. To my knowledge, I am not a wanted criminal.