"Are you going home for Christmas?"
This is the question that has haunted me since Thanksgiving. Before that, since it's not uncommon for us movie folk to stay put during Turkey Day, the question was "What are your plans for Thanksgiving?"
Hollywood tends to shut down for the weeks of Christmas and New Years, and with everyone forced to take a couple weeks off from work, the lengthy down time lends itself to more travel opportunities the previous "stuff your face then go shopping" holiday didn't afford. Hence the question everyone on the crew inevitably asks one another in an innocent attempt at small talk: "Are you going home for Christmas?"
It's a simple question that seems pretty straight forward. With a steady stream of people flowing into Los Angeles like rivers to the Mississippi, Hollywood is comprised of more out-ot-towners chasing their dreams than locals. So much so that it's often assumed you're originally from somewhere else unless told otherwise.
My issue with the seemingly innocuous question isn't the assumption that I'm not an L.A. native. My issue is with the assumption that I'm not already "home."
I've been in this town for the better part of a decade now. While that may or may not make me an official "Angeleno", I'm pretty sure my decade-plus absence from my hometown disqualifies me from claiming residence there either.
I'm proud of where I came from. It's a part of who I am. But I'm proud of where I am now, too. And I have no desire to return to my roots outside of an occasional visit to see some family and friends. I've made a life for myself in this town. Found a new family. made new friends. I once couldn't wait to establish myself enough in this business to live outside of L.A. and still be known enough to get work when I wanted it. Now, I don't know if I'd even want to leave if given that opportunity. The longer I stay here, the more reasons I find to love it.
So, is this where I call "home"? Is going to visit my parents where I used to live considered "going home for the holidays"? Is home where the heart is? Or is home where you want to be? Is it possible to belong to two places, but not have a home? Or is home simply where I return at night? Where do I even want to call home? Am I giving up claim to one if I claim the other?
At what point, can I / do I call Hollywood "home"?
For now, I answer that deceivingly simple question with a smile and a "I'll be spending the holidays with my parents." They can interpret that however they want (although truthfully, I doubt they're putting this much thought into the answer as I am).
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a fabulous New Year. I hope you get to spend some peaceful time at home, wherever that may be...