The Idea of Home

I went to the DMV today to renew my driver’s license. I could have avoided the trip, but I wanted to take a new picture. Along with a new picture, I also changed my address. My driver’s license has always listed my address as [redacted] Street in Hacienda Heights. I never got around to changing it because I assumed I’d move back after college.

Six years after college, I’m still in the same apartment I moved to eight years ago. Even though I’ve been on my own for a little while, I still had to check with my dad about changing my address. See, I’ve never had my my own car insurance. My dad does that, and I pay him every month for my share of the premium. I wanted to know if changing my address would increase my insurance rates. I figured driving in LA would riskier than driving in the suburbs.

“Probably,” he said. He didn’t tell me what to do, but he seemed to lean toward not changing my address.

I made up my mind hastily.

“I’m going to change it,” I told him. “I’m never going to live there again.”


Partly inspired by this exchange between Andrew Largeman and Sam in Garden State:
Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your stuff that idea of home is gone.
Sam: I still feel at home in my house.
Largeman: You’ll see when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s just gone. And you can never get it back. It’s like you get homesick for a place that doesn’t exist. I mean it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t 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 miss the idea of it. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place.


12 thoughts on “The Idea of Home

  1. a lot of my financial records have my dad’s house listed as my home address.. but i’ve *never* lived there, haha. now it’s for a number of reasons, but when i was in town in my apartment(s) we did the ‘for insurance reasons’ thing too. i had my own address on my license, though.. maybe california has a different system?

  2. great post…and i’ve been thinking about myself lately too..what made it really tough for me was just recently my mom sold the house we grew up in, and now home really is gone…though she says she also wonders now where home is. she bought a new house but she says it isn’t home, we aren’t there and there are no memories of us living there.

  3. As a side note, if memory serves me correctly, I think California is the only state to prohibit insurance companies from charging higher rates based on area you live. I know, I know, it doesn’t make any sense…but this is California.

    So…in theory…your car insurance rates should stay the same.

  4. I haven’t seen Garden State but that exchange is *so* timely and on point as I prepare to move yet again.

    But yeah, I still use my parents’ address for car insurance and most mail.

  5. how funny, i just recently began to change my address and i have out of my mom’s house for 10 years! is not that i was planning on moving back, is just that i move so much (on average, every other year, if not every year!) so i thought it was safer for my mail. but now, i just want to get my mail where i live.

  6. Momo says:

    Your post highlights that heavy empty feeling that we all experience when we realize that home is over. It’s funny how you thought you’d move back after college but haven’t done it yet or never will. I actually thought I’d never-ever-ever move back home… and I gave my mom that same line over the phone back at the end of my 1st year of grad school after she tried to make me come back home to live (as she did at the end of every year). “I’m never going to live there again,” I said, then she cried. So here I am, and even after having moved back, 3 years, it doesn’t feel like “home.”

  7. mo says:

    Oh, wow! I just had an exchange with mi mama about this. This Summer we
    (mis chamacas and I) stayed there. The other day she said, “You know when you stayed here last, you acted like a guest. I just want you to know that this will always be your home.” Utter sweetness. It must be harder on them than us.

  8. I’ve often thought about what Elenamary wrote about. My family has lived in the same apartment complex my whole life, and I’ve recently become worried that our landlord might evict us or sell the property to someone else and then be evicted. I think my family would be priced out of South Gate if they went looking for a house and it’d be hard to find a good apartment at South Gate for the same price.

  9. I know I’ll never live there again, but it’s still my “home.”
    Also, because I have such a weird vagabonding lifestyle, I’m comforted in knowing that no matter what happens, because my parents are still so Azn, I’ll always have a home to go back to if I NEEDED it. That’s why I got a tattoo of my parent’s house key:

  10. Pingback: Lotería Chicana » Blog Archive » Apartment 3

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