Terminal Thinking pt. 5
Day three of winter vacation
Some things are better where they are. i.e. African peanut butter. Taken back home to relatives and stainless-steel fridges, it becomes exactly what it is. Weirdly watery, not to your taste, and not nearly sweet nor nutty enough to trade in for the Skippy Extra Crunch. In Tanzania, it was the start of the day and a slightly familiar taste of home. Now at home, it serves no purpose other than to pose the question: does peanut butter go bad? (As in fungus, not teenage rebellion obviously.)
The glow of the exotic and exciting fades. What is left but a jar of peanut butter as tired and sad as you are?
Or similarly, the woven side-stall bracelet, which you deliberated over, gave in and bought (thinking, “This is special”), then happily wore on your arm for the next week, looks dingy now, and cheap and suddenly not special. Same with the “100% silk” scarves. The harem pants from India and Thailand, now at home and having undergone their first machine wash, seem not so soft anymore, as well as tacky to wear and as displaced as they literally are.
Coming home changes the confidence you once had in a lot of things while away from normal life, like yourself.
Seoul, Korea. December 2013. Age 17.