For the next two months, I am taking leave from radio duties in Australia to spend some time in America. This is my fourth trip in three years, so to say I love the place feels like something of an understatement. Free pour, fries with everything, dim-lit bars, I love-love-love it. Feels like home. Don’t get me wrong – I adore Sydney. Great people, beautiful beaches, perfect climate. But I never feel like the city and I are having a kind of grand romance. I get to the US and almost immediately my heart falls through the floor. Normal people fall in love with other people. I’m a geography teacher’s daughter. I’m wooed by places.
On various trips, I’ve driven through the Grand Canyon in a convertible with my best friend, watched the bats fly over Austin at dusk, lost money in Las Vegas, thumbed the Dylan Thomas plaque outside New York’s Chelsea Hotel. You could fall in love with those things. That would be normal. But it’s the joy found in the unremarkable things that makes me certain I’m head over heels. Or crazy. Or both. Evidence?
I cried in a supermarket in Seattle yesterday. No good reason, of course. A nice young man behind the deli counter asked if I was okay. How do you explain that you’re so happy you have to cry about it? Worse still, how do you explain that the tears were triggered by the in-store radio’s perfectly timed back-to-back classics – Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’, followed by Tom Petty ‘American Girl’.