Cary, NC — I put my thoughts to paper to talk about my return to my old home.
Around two months ago, I returned to Cary as a respite to build up extra cash and prepare myself for the big plunge coming on that is striking out on my own. My extended stay is nothing new. During college, I would always spend my summers at home. And prior to that, well… there was nothing else to call home.
Cary is a comfortable place to me. I rarely ever need my GPS while traveling inside of it, save the few times my destination is some obscure street that’s sandwiched between the major arteries of the town. Here all I need is an internal compass, a street name and I’m off, down a short cut that’ll help me get from point a to b in five minutes less than usual. But lately, that isn’t so much the case.
Stranger in My Own Home
Cary isn’t what it was five years ago, heck it isn’t the place it was even last year. It’s quickly changing, a shifting form that’s brought about by bulldozers and backhoes. Neighborhoods and townhouses pop up like daisies, shopping malls and grocery stores dot the street corners at every major intersection. Old stores are getting remodeled and new ones keep coming in. These are the signs of a bustling economy that started well before even I came to live here. And it’s not lost on me.
What’s more is that I realize that my interests as a young adult clash with the town itself. I want to go out at night, go to bars and meet people, have fun. Here in Cary, I have no friends. They’re all gone, mostly to Raleigh to finish up their degrees. What’s more, the bars they want to go to are there, if they want to go out at all. Here, the only bars that you can find are pubs and sports bars. Places to fill up on beer and greasy appetizers and watch the game, hardly a place to socialize and meet people.
All restaurants shut down after ten o clock, too, leaving only the fast food joints as the last place to go. Wanted something a bit more substantial? Well, tough luck, guy, you gotta deal.
Concerts and art seem to suffer here as well. Sure, there’s the occasional festival and every once and a while some one worth while comes to Koka Booth, but otherwise I feel I’m left culturally starved. I end up driving the twenty minutes to Raleigh to check out Redhat or Time Warner or even just to go see the art museum.
Absence Makes the Heart Wander
The thing is, Cary, that both you and I grew up a bit apart from each other. Long ago, you shifted your view on making the town a place for families and you’ve succeeded. You’ve made a place that young families want to be, a safe place to raise kids, shop for your necessities and have easy travel to work, although, of late, that’s become a bit debatable. And a product of this, whether intentional or not, is this feeling of alienation that I have now that I’m back here, working.
Here in Cary, I can’t help but feel out of place. The people I interact most with on a daily basis are parents and older adults. It’s rare for me to find someone who’s the same age as me here and that makes it hard for me to want to stay.
Like a bird leaving the nest, I’ll be leaving home, but not for good. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll do what my parents did and return with a family. But that’s years down the road, well out of sight and mind. In the meantime, let me worry about the next five years. Years that will be spent, most likely, some place else.
While deciding on the next move, Matt Posek has been writing for CaryCitizen this autumn. See also Angst Report: College Grad Returns to Cary from 2013.