It’s been two years since we packed up our lives in California and moved here to Tulsa. It seems longer than that in many ways. So much has changed in the 730 days we’ve lived here. And for the most part, it’s been for the better. But there are days when I wonder if I’ll ever really feel like this is home. And if so, when?
I miss our friends and family back in the golden state. I don’t miss the high cost of living and heinous traffic though. I do miss being able to sink my toes into the Pacific Ocean whenever I pleased. And spending a lazy day touring the little vineyards in wine country. But I don’t miss the uncertainty that came with living an artist’s lifestyle in a techno-driven economy. Where making a living-wage means you have to pull in six figures. How ridiculous is it that a single person earning $30K/year is considered near poverty-level?! But sadly, it is when you live in one of the most expensive places on earth.
Being in Tulsa has been interesting to say the least. Tulsans are quite friendly, but at the same time, not very welcoming. By that I mean people here smile at you in the grocery store and wave to you when you’re driving down the street, but they’re not the sort to invite you over for a visit or suggest that you hang out. Maybe I expect too much of people. Kindness should be enough, but I crave connection.
I want to get past the polite, perfunctory exchanges and get to the personal and profound conversations. We’re friendly folks. We can strike up a conversation almost anywhere with anyone. But I still cannot figure out why we’ve been here for two years and not made any friends. I mean, real friends. Not people you’re friendly with because you work with them or see them from time to time out in your neighborhood and the right thing to do is to be nice and friendly. I mean the kind of people you connect with about real stuff that goes on in your life. Friends who you want to spend time with after work and on the weekends. Someone you can call at 2 a.m. if need be. We just don’t have that here. And we did when we lived in CA. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. Shared experiences, I guess.
When you’re an artist, it automatically connects you with people in a different way, I suppose. Not that all of our friends back home are artists themselves. But most of them are and those who aren’t appreciate those who are and want to befriend them. Here? We’re just normal, everyday working folks with two cars, two dogs, a cat and a kid. There’s nothing beyond that right now to connect us to others, I guess. We’re not religious and only attend one church in town, on occasion. And when we go there, the people are nice. They say hello or smile from across the pews. But that’s it. They’re just nice. Just friendly. But not really looking to connect or make friends. At least it doesn’t feel that way. And I guess that’s why, after two years of living here, I feel like I am just visiting. Nice and friendly are perfectly swell when you’re visiting. But if you’re going to stay, it takes more than that. I am on a search to find it. So that this time next year I can say that Tulsa feels like home.