31 August, 2008

Cutting ties and letting go

So there it is. My ARIZONA driver's license. I went to the MVD (motor vehicles division, as opposed to the more official sounding department of motor vehicles in Illinois) last Wednesday to pick one up. Not out of any real desire to stay in compliance with Arizona law--which requires that you get a license 10 days after officially moving, but hey I would rather avoid issues with the cops since I do drive here quite frequently--but more to establish residence for tuition purposes (but I really do love Tucson! heh). It was quite an easy process, much easier than what one has to do in Illinois--no drops of blood required nor signing over the right to name your first-born child to the state. The whole thing took about ten minutes and then quite suddenly I had in my hands an Arizona driver's license.

My old Illinois license now has a hole punched in it, signifying so many things at once. They allow you to keep your old license as long as you let them punch that hole and as I wanted to hold onto it, for memory's sake, I agreed to the heavy symbolism and punch! there went my ties to Illinois, at least in officialdom. I also registered to vote here at the same time, again cutting ties. Sorry Rey Colon! I can no longer vote to keep you in office and that awful Vilma out...you will just have to hold onto the 35th ward without my help.

And so I move on, away from Chicago, away from Illinois, away from my flat but green Midwest. To say I miss it is an understatement, but in all truths I have no intention of going back--at least on any permanent basis (unless of course, something unforeseen happens in terms of employment, which is the only way I see myself returning...is the UC hiring?) Gazing at the mountains here is always a good succor for bouts of homesickness, which tend to become most extreme when I am standing in a grocery store and cannot for the life of me locate sambal olek nor a big bottle of sesame seed oil, something I could find in any two-bit grocery store in Chicago, or for a really good price at the local asian supply stores. Or dried chilies of various sorts....indian goods...non mass-market for gringo consumption thai stuff, etc. Tucson is not by any means "small-town" limited but it does lack in a great many things that were so readily available back home (and it will always be home goddammit, though Mitla is also home as well).

Tonight, though, we go for sushi. And here there maybe an advantage (hopefully). Chicago had great sushi, sure, and I am in the desert here, but the Sea of Cortez is only 4 hours away driving, while fresh seafood--or at least those species required for good sushi--were 6 hours flying time from Chicago. I am hoping to all the gods in heavens that that will translate into some awesome raw fish. We'll see, and I will of course report back later on what I am calling the "Great Sushi Experiment of 2008, or alternatively An Alleviation of Homesickness Through Raw Fish". Peace.

p.s. check out the expiration date. According to this great state, I do not have to get another license until I am the ripe old age of 65. Nice.

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