You Might Call it Stockholm Syndrome

Visiting my mother in Florida for the holiday. I grew up in this city, but it was never home. Being back is always hard. I hate it here. It’s hot, culturally stagnant. My family is also difficult to deal with—not dysfunctional, but barely functional. I don’t like not seeing them, though. It’s a cognitive dissonance held together by a certain kind of love.

My girlfriend’s recently gotten me into The War on Drugs. Imagine Bob Dylan singing a Dire Straits song played in the style of Bruce Springsteen—expansive, alienated, resigned. I realize I’m about a decade behind on this. But it’s an appropriate soundtrack to the blocks on blocks of strip malls and gated housing communities that define this place. The heavily chlorinated fountains. I don’t know what people are doing here. House > car > mall > car > office park > car > house > bed. There’s so much to occupy your time, but nothing to do. I find myself looking at my phone more, interacting with my surroundings less. The natural world here is so unforgiving. The air is thick with boredom. It prevents one from seeing anything of value. It resists being breathed.

My brother just arrived. He’s got this THC vape with a screen on it that tells you how long you’ve been pulling. It’s the perfect way to count the minutes until I can go back home.