Home (Is Wherever I’m With You)

A tour builds over its entire duration toward one moment: the homecoming. This can come in many forms: a latenight stagger into the kitchen, an early morning slide back into bed, a midday lunch with friends, the first big show back at home. In my case, home started to sink in once my cab crossed the Williamsburg Bridge toward my apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. To my left, a J train rumbled slowly by. To my right was a skyline unlike any other. We’ve played in nearly forty cities at this point and I’ve been coming to New York City for my entire life (I know I sound like a tourist wearing an “I <3 NY” t-shirt), but no place has ever felt as much like a home – a place that can take the weight off my shoulders – like New York did in that moment.

Once we arrive home, we quickly come to realize that there is little time that we are truly “off.” The day after we got back, we had an in-store at Other Music in the West Village. The day after that, we had a sold-out homecoming show with Sherlocks Daughter and Lawrence Arabia (Two amazing bands, by the way. If you’ve not had a chance to check them out yet, both are a must) at Bowery Ballroom…our first headlining show in New York in almost three months. A few days after that was Record Store Day, and we performed twice – in New Jersey and Delaware. The next day we had a show up in Clinton, NY at Hamilton College (some of the sweetest people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting thus far).

The point is, time off the road isn’t the same as time off – not yet, at least. So the readjustment to being home is tempered and buffered, something that is both helpful and harmful to the re-homing process. It’s like coming up from a deep-water dive…come up too quickly and you get the bends. Come up too slowly and, well, you just spent a lot of unnecessary time underwater. The balance is exact and sensitive, and given that this was only our second tour, we’re still working our measurements out.

Regardless of how much or little work there is to be done, being home after over a month away is a jarring experience. It takes just as long to get used to being home as it took to get used to being on the road in the first place. For me, that means a week of feeling a bit reserved, a bit out of sorts, and a bit internally and socially uncomfortable. My mind is completely in shock. Do I want to see my friends? Yes. Am I completely comfortable in social situations after spending five weeks with the same people every day? Absolutely not. It’s great to have understanding friends that don’t mind when you sit squirrelishly nursing beer after beer and not saying all-that-much.

None of this is to take away from just how indescribably glorious it is to be home. My own bed. My DVR. My roommate and/or romantic cohabitant, Mer. Our goldfish (Unagi). My Wii. My stove. My neighborhood. My bars. Everything that’s mine (or ours) is so refreshing and refreshed. Waking up in the same place every morning is a real blessing. It’s something that I very consciously miss while I’m on the road, but the remedy is so immediate and intensely gratifying that it is hard to imagine just how good it will feel until it actually happens. I think this flood of positive change is what forces my system into shock. It’s almost too much good to handle…though I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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~ by Jacob Hyman on April 26, 2010.

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