the one where I come back

 Just as I was sinking into the take-it-for-grantedness of central air and parking lots of my native land, I returned to my adopted home where we keep the rooms shuttered and darkened against the sun and trade car keys for walking shoes.  (The walking shoes part is not necessarily a bad thing as I brought back three 49.8 lb suitcases filled with bagels and Cheez-its.)


The heat and humidity is certainly not any worse than it is in America; it just feels worse because I am walking and living in it as opposed to dashing from my air conditioned car to my air conditioned house.  I know that I sound like a princess. I know. But I do love me some central air. I do. I love it so much.  And I wouldn’t mind washing dishes by hand or having no place to put all my stuff if I hadn’t just had two months of a dishwasher and for real closets.


And I forgot that I can’t buy mouthwash in the grocery store and so I have to head to the pharmacy where I forgot that the pharmacy is closed until September, so too bad so sad, yuck mouth. I forgot that dressing in my what-will-show-my-pools-of-sweat-the-least style means that I will be mistaken for a gypsy because I am not swinging off a motorcycle in slow motion while wearing an immaculate white lace shirt under a white backless tank top with white skinny jeans and high heeled white sandals, frizz-free hair cascading down my not-at-all-sweaty back. 


I forgot that signs warning all dogs must be leashed are not so much rules as they are rectangular metal places to hang your dog leash while your dog romps and plays or that standing in line instead of pushing your way to the front will only confuse everyone around you.


But then I also forgot that going to a park is like entering a tented canopy of lush green where it is 10 degrees cooler and everyone is enjoying the beautiful day, sitting peacefully on benches, lying on blankets, and eating lunch with their grandchildren.


I forgot that when you are outside with your dogs, the very sight of them doing nothing more exciting than sniffing in the grass will spark delight in all who pass by. I forgot the amazing taste of proper gelato and fresh mozzarella .


And today I was reminded that I had forgotten one of the very best things: if your son has a nose bleed in the grocery store and is calmly pressing a giant wad of kleenex that you carry for this very reason to his face and said nosebleed is fully contained, everyone will still be overcome with genuine concern. And even the very intimidating neck-tattooed and gun-toting security guard with whom you normally avoid eye contact at all costs will cluck with great sympathy and bring over a roll of paper towels, insisting that you take them to supplement the kleenex.  Because most of the time, that’s the kind of place it is here.