T Minus 300

Frankfurt am Main

It’s a little less than five hours until I am leaving for the airport. This trip will take me, once more, half-way around the globe, back “home” to the United States.

It’s a weird feeling. “Home” used to be pretty well defined to me, it was a small house in San Jose, CA, just off San Tomas Expressway. “Home” was the Bay Area, its lights, people, and the tech that permeated everything.

It’s an even weirder feeling to realize that it has been, to the day, fourteen years since I first drove the iconic route of 101 to San Francisco and 280 back to the Bay, gazing in wonder over Moffet Field’s blimp hangars, the massive steel and glass buildings belonging to Oracle, the signs pointing towards Earthlink and other motherships of the dot.com boom. Driving back through the serene landscape along Lake San Andreas and Crystal Springs, past Sand Hill Road where, at that very moment, millions over millions of dollars were underwritten, many of which would disappear in clouds of smoke only a year later.

I lived in the Bay Area through the boom and the crash. I watched formerly vibrant office parks turning into cold and dark carcasses, reeking of demise, not a glimmer of their former dot.com pioneer days’ glory shining past the For Lease signs. I played deadpool with coworkers, putting down five dollar bills on maps of the area, denoting which of the office complexes would be first to be completely vacated.

Yet it was home. Home where the lights of the Valley, coming north from Santa Cruz or a day trip to Monterey, would welcome me and fill me with the warmth only coming home can bring.

I moved to Dallas, but it wasn’t home. Here I had a great house, the wide and open prairie that made me dream of days long past, a tech scene that felt as pioneering as San Jose once was, great food, and great friends. Dallas was many things to me, friend, confidant, lover, but never “home”.

From my winter garden office in Frankfurt I stare up, into the sky, watching rain drops fall and run down the glass frame that separates me from the approaching German fall. I am packed, I am flying — for the first time in decades as a tourist, not a returning traveler — to Dallas in only a scant few hours. On the other side friendship, love, embrace, and the town that I have come to love so much, awaits. I’ll be driving the wide open roads of America’s fly-over country to New York in less than two days, will breathe the air that still smells of pioneers and freedom and the hope that tomorrow, even if just a tiny bit, will be greater and better than today already was.

I wonder. Will Frankfurt ever be home? I guess I’ll find out in the next thirty days…