Cue the pangs of nostalgia.
If you're lucky, your own go-home-to place, the place you head for holidays and family weekends or just to take a break from being an adult for a couple of days, is still the same as where you come from. But for many people, it's not.
The other day I decided to get lost. I decided to drive. Going into the unknown for a day, I wanted to travel far and stop when I needed, see what I wanted, and just keep going. I drove for two or three hours and stopped at some beautiful places, but I couldn't seem to get far enough away.
523-0765. Until last month, the phone number was in my family for almost half a century. But call the number today and you'll hear a terse message that it has been disconnected. It took 15 years for 523-0765 to become a non-working number.
In 2012, we sold my mother's house. My parents bought the house in 1965, a four-bedroom colonial on Long Island. The 'For Sale' sign on the corner was an insult at first, but we convinced ourselves, my sisters and I, that the house would not sell quickly -- we had plenty of time. We were wrong.
My ancestral address, 1735 Asylum Avenue, is rich with symbolism and irony. But there is something subtler at work here -- something beyond connotations of political or insane asylums.
The House. Iconic words. The big house we dream we'll have when we have kids. Mom will have the baby, and you'll drive her up to "The House." You'll see your kids learn to ride their bikes in the driveway, and then you'll watch your kids going out for their own first drive.
While we tend to view ourselves and others around us in terms of predictably consistent personality types, time and time again behavioral science demonstrates that how we think and what we do varies dramatically by simple situational considerations like where we are.