Daily life almost always seems normal. I’ve lived in some fairly different places – a homeless shelter in Chicago, war-torn Croatian villages, the Upper West Side, the Valley, the outer edges of the New York suburbs (or of Appalachia, I’m not sure which is more accurate). And life always rounds into routine.
Of course, sensitive observer that I am, I do notice differences. It’s hard to miss gangs or a war or the aftermath of 9/11. It is hard to miss the smell of New York in August or 14 lanes of traffic on the 405 in LA.
But my life now seems so normal, so average. None of that edge. I go to work and sit in front of a computer. I have a family. I read. I watch TV. I wonder why the sports teams I like never win anything.
I have to be reminded that walking down the street and seeing man after man pushing a baby carriage is different. That only working part-time to take care of my daughter is different (for a guy). That getting six months paid parental leave this summer was different (I was going to start this blog then but didn’t think I had anything to say …) I have to be reminded that this life is vastly more different than any of those others I lived, for this is structural and long-lasting.
It is good for me to be reminded, to not doze off in the new daily routine of the American expat (or Swedish immigrant) with a corporate job, no car, tiny apartment, pregnant wife and demanding daughter with a crush on Obama.
You know, that routine.