It has become popular to malign the movie Garden State. I hadn't seen it since it came out in 2004. It moved me right down to my honeycombed marrow at first viewing, but I've been wondering lately, well, if it was any good. It came out the summer before I moved to college, when I was still dating my high school boyfriend and a pack of friends went out for its release at the dusty single-screen arthouse theatre in downtown Dayton. (Is that place still open? God I hope it is.) As the years passed and I've tried to recall it, I started fearing that its stab at earnest and gritty would read more as pretense and affectation in my mid-20s.
I haven't rewatched it but I remembered a quotation about home and family that got its barbs in me good. I just looked it up:
You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone...You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
I am homesick these days. It is manifesting itself as cravings for foods from the past. Sizzling rice soup at Flying Tiger with my mom while my brother and sister were at elementary school. Buttered pecan ice cream out of small glass bowls in front of the TV, on my dad's La-Z-boy. My high school cafeteria's triple decker PB&J with a frisbee-sized soft-baked chocolate chip cookie, my lunch for four straight years. Mom's Christmas pretzel candy. The nasty syrupy-sweet mocha drink I used to order at the campus coffeeshop. My makeshift hobo-stew created behind the line at the restaurant where I worked in college, piling cheese and veggie chili and scallions into a bowl while the line cooks swatted me out of their way. Tiny cut french fries served with mayo and tiny forks from street stalls in Paris.