Monday, June 21, 2010

My Last Westport Post, I Swear

I will now say something nice about Westport. (I don't usually do that.) Westport reminds me of the promise made to me in my youth, not in words because it never had to be, but strongly implied: that you can have everything, you can be anything, you are elevated above everyone else, simply're from here. You have to work hard, of course, but you were working hard already. Getting into college is hard work; surviving fourth grade is harder. The point was not the work, the point was that there was no notion of failure here, and more importantly, no notion of obscurity.

Now of course I know that all of that was crap, and yet...even writing that sentence I realize I have to qualify it: most of that was crap. Because I've known a lot of people from all over, extremely motivated people, with passions and interests and drive, people who actually had been selected and elevated for their talent, not the town in which they were raised. And yet the familiar names I see popping up again and again, on TV or in magazines or on the Internet, those are names I remember from Westport.

And so still, now, though I am by anyone's definition obscure and by Westport's definition most certainly a failure, still when I pull off the highway at exit 19 and turn south towards that overrated town, I feel a certain...peace. Because this place still tells me that lie I want to hear: I am better than my soulless, badly-paid day job. I deserve more than that. I was destined for a better life, I am entitled to it. Because I am from here. And while my brain rejects every part of this, and knows that even though it's true for some it was never meant to be true for me, and that I'm not even really from here...some other part of me almost buys it. In my beat-up Civic I dodge the shiny sports cars driven by corporate clones with something to prove and the monster SUVs driven by their tiny hungry wives. And over the noise of the stop-and-go traffic of the Post Road, with its strip malls and street lights and household help catching the bus out of town, I still hear that whispered lie, and for a minute I believe it. And it's sort of nice.

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