[Opinion] – Why go home?

Why do I go home? I needed warm sweaters, the thickest and ugliest sweaters I could find because the first frost will kill us all pretty soon here âĦ yet, my dad could have driven my ugly mallard sweatshirt to me en route to work. I love that mallard. Friday night, I went with two old buddies to my hometownâÄôs coffee shop, The Hot Spot, to watch our friends play music. Avant-garde paintings along with black and white portraits lined the walls. A yellow light poured over it all. I couldnâÄôt help but gaze over all the patched-up couches and loveseats, or all of my friendsâÄô heads, their hair so diverse and representative. One had hair that used to be curt, but now it lay upon his shoulders like a dirty blonde mane from heaven. Another had large dreadlocks and pink bangs, being formerly straight, short brown hair. She smokes cigarettes now; that seems to be the popular explanation for the change of hair. Yet another had just gotten it cut short again, thereby perpetuating the hair-length cycle of his life. My two friends alternated their sets with one another, and I reveled in how my guy friend had set himself with such a pretty, ugly voice that seemed to grate against everything I wanted to hear. On the tiny, wooden stage up front, with the front door opened beside him, he strummed quickly and pushed through power chords. It seemed like he hadnâÄôt any aim or purpose, but you could feel that he did. And when my other friend got up, she simply strummed and sang. It was wonderful. Everyone just watched her intently âÄî she had always inspired that in people. I think it was partway through her rendition of Andre 3000âÄôs âÄúHey Ya!âÄù when I noticed she had changed into a womanly glow about her cheeks and smile. I set my Vitamin water down and watched her until we left. Afterwards, there was, expectedly, not much to do that night. After a year in college, we all agreed that it wasnâÄôt any wonder why everyone in town drank so much. We drove around, found old friends at Burger King, and finally settled on traveling a long dark path to the family cemetery of our townâÄôs founder, Joel Foster. Our ghost-hunting was immaculate: We had a Bible and a flashlight to cut through the oncoming fog. No one was wearing shoes, only sandals, and so we dredged upon the twiggy, moonlit path until we reached the cemetery atop the hill. A few mossy gravestones were strange, but with the stars overhead and the full moon illuminating the graying folds of the river valley below, we werenâÄôt nearly as terrified of zombies as we thought we were. On Saturday, I rode back with a friend to the Twin Cities amid downpour of rain âÄî not forgetting my mallard sweater. Our two friends, both beaming and blonde, made us spaghetti dinner with the scant supplies they had in their old house. We sat around and dillydallied into our own ways until later that night when a party stoked itself at the house. People moved in and out of the house, and there seemed a stream of smokers puffing their way around the premises. I knew four people very well; otherwise, it was mindless gabbing and expansion, where I dove in and out of lights, wandering into my good friends while I circumnavigated the party for new people. It was humid, and some dude danced to Radiohead by himself, inviting me in, but I couldnâÄôt because I had somehow lost my balance earlier that night and not recovered. I found myself in a graffiti-laden basement down the block where two bands echoed through megaphones and guitars into a genre called post-rock (I didnâÄôt know rock had ended). During the height of the party, I roamed back to my dorm and collapsed onto my bed for want of my futon at my familyâÄôs house. No, there wasnâÄôt any real reason to go back home. You can say all you want, but home is always where you go to find your roots amid the insanity of your own life. In the end, I guess I just needed my ugly mallard sweater. Matt Grimley welcomes comments at [email protected]