For several years after I moved to Minneapolis, I’d be out with friends, native Minnesotans who seemed to know everybody. Their high school track coach, their mom’s high school track coach, their uncle’s neighbor’s hair stylist. I found it profoundly annoying, if I’m being honest. There does seem to be something inherently braggy in Minnesotans (and maybe in all of us) that gets a particular pleasure from knowing everyone.
Something happened, though, about five years into my Minneapolis stint. I started knowing people, too. I’d run into a college professor at the mall, where they were clearly not supposed to be because professors should always be professing. Or, eventually I’d go to a coffee shop enough that the barista wanted to remember my name. When I started running into exes while with my current loves, I knew I’d officially made it into awkward Minnesotan know-them-all territory.
Here, I pretty much don’t know anyone. I haven’t claimed a coffee shop yet, (too many new ones to try!), and I don’t have any exes. So yesterday, when I was walking down the “main drag” of my neighborhood, I paid little attention to the person yelling my name from across the street. I figured it was a different “Lauren.” No one knows me here, not even my neighbors really know me, because many of us are in our 20’s and antisocial if it’s not via a computer. But the yelling persisted, and I finally (reluctantly, antisocially) slowed down.
She was a writing classmate, a person from school, but also someone I’d had coffee with outside of school, so I think she counts as a friend. She doesn’t live in my neighborhood, so seeing her was a surprise. But she does live in Seattle, and so I think this counts as my first someone-I-know sighting. I was really happy about this. It felt like I passed some kind of milestone, like maybe now “I made it”, even for a minute.
I’ve thought about home the last few months, and started making peace with the fact that I have several, in different places and with different people. I think when you’re young, the idea society gives you is you’re supposed to have one home, one place where you settle and put down roots and stay forever. At least, that’s what I see happening with most of my peers. But maybe they have more homes too, homes I don’t know about, homes that are more intimate than their literal ones.
I feel at home with people, in different places, in different seasons. I used to worry that I’d never find my “true home.” But I’m getting cozy with the idea that I might not have one. “Not all who wander are lost” comes to mind here. Seeing my friend on the street, having her so insistently shouting my name as if to say, “You can’t hide from me girl!” made me feel like I just might have home here, too.