A Man Without A Hometown

It can be weird what inspires a story.

I was reading the news, and saw a headline about a “Jersey lawyer” who had some things to say about Bruce Springsteen’s bogus DUI arrest.

This lead me to thinking about how he was a Jersey boy from a Jersey town. All that stuff. And of course, this lead me to think about John Cougar Mellencamp, who was the Hoosier from a small town in Indiana.

Well, someone else is from a small town in Indiana. Yours truly. It was a town so small that you didn’t even have to dial all of the digits to call someone else in town. The last 5 would suffice.

Summer 1966: Me, in a small town Indiana trailer park with my trusty Samoyed, Taz. My little brother is in the background. My neighbor had just read a book to me, and let me have a few sips of his Fallstaff beer. I would learn about this after sharing this picture with that old neighbor’s daughter at my father’s funeral in early 2003.

What bothered me about these thoughts was the realization that I don’t really have an old hometown to talk about. The Boss and Cougar both wax poetic about their hometowns and how much they love their hometowns.

Adding to this, they are very beloved in their hometowns.

I do not have that experience.

Growing up in the Midwest was very difficult. I won’t belabor too many points in great detail. I suppose the biggest point was that I never fit in with anyone in any situation at any time.

I now understand that this is because I am Autistic, but I did not know this until 2017. It truly feels like a life wasted, and this does nothing to help me during those times when I am feeling like I might be better off dead.

Summer 1981: Banging out a quad tom break in marching band rehearsal for the song “Light Up” by Styx.

My education was horrendous, and I was smarter than the back-woods “teachers” who populated the classrooms for their paychecks.

I was not religious, I have never believed, and never will. This runs in direct contrast with everyone around me being a hard-core Christian. I got constant judgment, demonization, and was dehumanized by others.

I never fit in, and could not wait to leave.

On a side note, if you’re curious about what I’m playing the photo here, and want to see and hear the official performance, you can do so here.

Late 2009: Drumming at the famous Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA on the Sunset Strip.

In late 1985, my mother invited me to move to California. I left on New Year’s Eve, landing in Bakersfield in 1986.

I would make my way to Los Angeles in 1987. I’ve told this story at least a few times on this blog, so I won’t re-hash it.

Long story short, I stayed in Los Angeles for 33 years, pursuing a career in the music industry, before ultimately moving to Oregon in May 2019.

The big problem with moving from California to Oregon is that people in Oregon do not like people from California. They especially do not like people who work in Tech, since their presence tends to raise the prices too high for everyone else.

I don’t work in Tech anymore, so I have that going for me. My Tech/California concern is actually a very serious issue, as is demonstrated in this news article.

No, this wasn’t a case of road rage. Yes, he had a road rage encounter. It was caused by his California license plates.

When I first moved to California, my mother still had Indiana plates on her car. Someone saw us, and they were not shy about making their opinions audibly known.

“Uhg… Indiana… Hope they don’t stay long.”

Americans are anything but united. But I digress.

After I moved here, I got Oregon plates right away. I couldn’t afford to lose my car, and still can’t.

But I had one other thing going for me.

For all of my 33 years in California, I was never able to shake my Indiana accent. A co-worker at MySpace best described it, saying that I sounded “like a gay pirate.” All I could say in response was “Yarrrrr!”

But he was not alone in his judgment of my accent. I have hated it for my entire life.

So whenever I meet people in Oregon, I will say that I spent some time in California, but will then say that I am from Indiana.

I try to quietly cringe inside as I say it, but I know that the reason I’m saying this is all about nothing more than survival and not getting my ass kicked by some idiot yokel who has hatred for every American who isn’t living in their little town.

Yes, I moved to another small town. This small town is at least 8 times larger than where I grew up, so there’s that.

I truly hate being from Indiana.

I hate my accent.

If there is something bigger than my very strong dislike for my own accent and voice, it’s that I do not have a “hometown” to call my own. I don’t say with pride that I’m from anywhere, maybe because having pride about that is best reserved for those who are lacking in intelligence.

But then I see the likes of Springsteen and Mellencamp enjoying their hometown status and I wonder. I see it in others as well. It’s almost like everyone else has this, except for me.

Reddit determined that my guitar is “Autistic.” I suppose that makes sense?

This point of view is brought to you by Autism. Autism! Fucking your life and every opportunity you see. Every day. All the time. Get it. Be it. Live it. Autism. WARNING: Do not try to cure Autism. Others call it a “gift” but nobody can tell you HOW it is a gift for you. Not curable or transferrable. Side-effects include not being liked or likable, not fitting in, losing opportunities, failing at just about everything, Autistic meltdowns, people abandoning you, people exploiting you, stimming, repetition, obsessive thoughts, nostalgia chasing, useless “special talents,” being a burden to everyone, rumination, loneliness, progressing situations to their ultimate deadly conclusions, and more. Ask your doctor if Autism is right for you! Offer not valid in Minnesota. While supplies last.

But really, if I wanted to get something more out of this entry besides venting about how much I hate being from Indiana, while simultaneously lamenting the fact that I don’t feel like I’m from anywhere, it would be my desire to get rid of my accent.

I really want to get rid of my accent, so that I can have a man’s adult voice. I don’t really like my voice at all.

It’s one thing that gets in my way, where I feel like there might actually be something that I can do about it.

But maybe I am just fooling myself.

So, for now, I will sit here as that guy who was raised in Indiana against his will, who left for California, only to end up not being able to afford it, getting funneled into Oregon, and sitting in a frozen landscape during a pandemic while coming up with the great idea to try to get rid of his accent.

Sounds about right.

Los Angeles 1987: My first new drum set and my first studio apartment.

Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

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