They say you can never go back. But you totally can. I just returned from a trip to my Past. Well, okay, it was really just a trip to Washington, DC. But since I lived there off and on for 20 years, it feels like the Past. And the Present. And some little bits of it are like the Future.
Stepping off the plane at National Airport (it wasn’t named after Ronald Reagan when I first lived there–he was just in his second term at the time–so it’s always going to just be National or DCA to me), I felt that immediate stressful hunch return to my shoulders. My face dropped its smile and my feet moved purposefully. It’s the city. I immediately and subconsciously adopted the City Attitude.
When I’m in D.C., I truly struggle to maintain my identity as Present Tyra. I shift in and out of dimension like someone caught in a time-space continuum anomaly in Star Trek. I get on the Metro train and have to consciously force myself to stay seated as the train passes the Pentagon Metro stop (from which I commuted for several years) and the Foggy Bottom stop (yes, it’s a real neighborhood name–go ahead and smirk, I still do) where I worked for several years.
The memories flood back–college (not so good), working at the Key Bridge Marriott (awesome), various restaurants and points of interest that are tied to good (and bad) memories. And yet I’m there on business. I’m Present Tyra. Phase shift.
There are some wonderful things about the city. I love “city walking.” Block after block of concrete, interesting characters (who I pretend not to notice as I adopt the disinterested blank face of a city dweller), the fabulous and diverse restaurants (disregard that I ate in the hotel two out of three nights of my trip). I love the way the city landscapes its tiny green places. And the street musicians who play and to whom I always give money because in my mind, they are providing a service to the community. I do not, however, miss the traffic, the noise, and the sadness I feel when I see all the homeless and panhandlers. And I don’t enjoy the pace–the frenetic hurry-hurry self-important attitude of everyone except the tourists.
Being in the Past reminds me of how far I’ve come in my life. From an insecure small town girl heading off to the Big City for college to…well, to the small town woman who recently returned home after 20+ years to the only place I’ve ever loved. It’s nice to visit the Past, in part because it makes me appreciate my Present. It also makes me appreciate the Past and all its players who played a part in getting me to where I am, Home at last.
Carpe the Present.