{Here and Home Are Not the Same}

I’m sitting up in bed with my back propped up against the wall by two plush pillows. It’s quiet in my house, except for the dishwasher that’s running a full cycle of dirty dishes–we had shrimp tacos for dinner tonight, in honour of Cinco de Mayo, and I dirtied a lot of dishes in preparation. [Nobody I know even mentioned the holiday today, but if I had been back home, it would have been a non-stop fiesta. Maybe Canadians are separated by one too many borders to recongnise Mexican holidays.]

It’s calm here–there are no kids screaming protests about bedtime, no yapping dogs or meowing cats. No attachments. Everything is just the way I like it.

In the background, I can hear the familiar sound of sirens–probably police officers on an important call. Probably they’ll save someone’s life tonight. Without realising what I’m doing, I begin to worry for their safety. A lot of people I care about work in law enforcement–I pray they are protected tonight, as they go about their duties protecting me.

Then suddenly it hits me: those sirens I hear, the ones that seem so familiar to me, can’t possibly be real. I live in Mayberry, after all–a tiny town of not quite 3,000 residents. There’s not even a stop light in Mayberry. Here, we have two police cars, and I don’t think either of them are equipped with sirens–no need for anything ostentatious like that. (My husband will probably dispute this claim. Probably he will feel insulted that I don’t think his town’s police cars come with sirens. But I don’t mean any indignities, Poor Kyle. I’m just trying to make a point.) At any rate, the noise must be coming from the basement, where Poor Kyle is playing some auto-wrecking blather of a game.

It is shocking to me, the realisation that sirens sound familiar in my ears. As a kid, I fell asleep to their steady humming. Up and down they went, occasionally harmonised by my dog’s impatient howls–Sampson hated sirens. Sirens didn’t scare me, though–I found them reassuring. The knowledge that help was on the way–on the way to someone who needed it–was comforting to me.

It seems like I could have lived and died and lived again in the time that has passed since I’ve heard a real siren. I don’t hear them here in Mayberry, because the only criminals are bored teenagers out looking for variety. [Oh, and evidently there are a lot of white-collar criminals in this town, too, who get put away on charges of fraud and embezzlement. But those are the kind of crimes that simply require a search warrant and a testimony–no sirens. And anyway, we don’t talk about them, except behind closed doors. Certainly not on the internet for all the world to read.] I like it here; don’t get me wrong. But I also like home. Here and home are not the same to me, and they might never be.

I’m really looking forward to my trip home this month; I will eat authentic Mexican-American food (not the rubbish I dish out in my kitchen), and once again be lulled to sleep by the sound of sirens, if even for a few short weeks.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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8 Responses to {Here and Home Are Not the Same}

  1. Anonymous says:

    Millie,

    I know EXACTLY what you mean by being lulled to sleep by the sirens. Some people think that police sirens are cause for concern. And I guess they are because they are an indication that there is an emergency that needs to be dealt with ASAP. But, in lieu of my 85201 upbringing and subsequent matrimony, I find the sound comforting, too. Although sometimes I do wonder what call the officers are attending to at that particular moment, if it’s dangerous, and most importantly, if my Clint is involved. That’s when the worry comes in; when I think of Clint in danger. But never because of the actual sirens.

  2. Aimee says:

    I feel I really understand where you’re coming from. Here’s to home in 1 week (woohoo!!) and to eating at Rosa’s twice while we’re there.

  3. Alicia says:

    Yes, Arizona is fabulous. Say hello for me while you’re there. We just got back 1 1/2 weeks ago, and I miss it already. :)

  4. Mikelle says:

    I know what you mean! I rarely hear sirens here…so when I do I automatically worry that there’s an emergency for someone I know…or that my house is on fire or something.

    Also, I rarely see police cars here- I speed all the time now, but I think I just have a false sense of security. It is so small here compared to Mesa/Phoenix…so that must be why I never see cops!

  5. The Lowry's says:

    Yum, what I wouldn’t give for some real authentic mexican food right now too. When we went down to Arizona in April 2004 (oh how I wish we could go again that was 4 years ago, wow) sorry anyways,
    we had the real stuff and it was delicious!! I am jealous that you guys are going down again….

  6. Anonymous says:

    hm… thought-provoking post

  7. Raygon says:

    kiss that hot asphalt for me while you are there! amen to the sirens and the familiar sound they are! for me too, here and home are not the same…never will be.

  8. Anonymous says:

    oh yeah, the sirens, i hear them now often.rarely did young.had these war sirens though, wwii, still in place, deactivated, but occasionally would misfire and bleat out a very metal sounding alert. was one next to elementary, and junior high.bout a block from home. lr lived there too.

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