When waking up this morning, dark in the room, for a couple of seconds I didn’t know where I was… that is I didn’t know which country I was in. I recognized the room as my bedroom, and I recognize the shape of the apartment as familiar. The balcony outside, the door leading out to it, the blinds, filtering the emerging daylight from the outside, the bookshelf mounted high on the wall.
But I didn’t know if this was my apartment, or a former apartment and if I lived here still or if this was a place of friends I was staying with. But most of all, I wasn’t sure which country this place was in. was it in the US, my old home in Los Angeles. I had a certain gut feeling that it was in a country that I had left, hence, probably Los Angeles, and that I was visiting this place.
I kept groping in my unconscious, running down a list of parameters:
- Was I alone here?
- What did I recognize?
- Do I belong in this space?
- Is this my room?
After several seconds of unconsciously floating through these questions and feeling the sense of space I realized I had been mistaken:
This was not a former place, this was my home, and it was not in the US, Los Angeles, but in Munich, Germany, and no, there was nobody else here with me, sleeping in the other room.
For a short moment I was reminded of these nights, where I would go to bed, and shortly after the light was switched off, and the furniture came back into shape in its grey outlines and the shape of the room took on form again in the dark, the noises of the big city out there filtering in through the windows, the yard, the trees. There, lying awake still, I would lie on my back, looking up at the ceiling, and always ask myself the same question: “What am I doing in this country, in this foreign place? Why I am here?” And in asking that, I would see myself from above, zoomed out into the sky, having an aerial view, into my bed, roof disappeared, this bed in this room in this large city, in this large country, on this continent so far removed from home. And I would sense my solitude and my geographical distance from home. Yet, I would never admit to myself that this place wasn’t my home. After all, I had made it my home for many many years. After all, it had been home to me, and I felt happy there.
After returning home from Los Angeles after 10 years of living there, and feeling lost for the first 9 months in Munich, Germany, I was astonished that I never felt THAT. Never woke up in the middle of the night, asking myself this questions again. Despite the fact that it didn’t feel like home, felt much less like home than Los Angeles ha felt over the years, I never, not a single time, woke up or went to bed asking myself:
“What the fuck am I doing here in this strange place?”
The dream and sensation of the area view into my bed, my shape lying there, from the far distance of the sky visible like a tiny needle in a vast field, set into perspective against the world, this dream, never reoccurred.