Last July I celebrated the ten-year anniversary of my arrival in the United States. I met friends at a comedy variety show, we played guitars, had a few drinks.
Eleven years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago, all the way back to my birth, I was in Europe. Mainly the Balkan part of Central Europe. Since moving to the States, I've visited Europe three times. One summer, one winter, another winter. I'll probably go there again in December. When I think about Europe, I don't think about those past or future visits--those are mere brief parenthetical statements in the long-winded sentence of my post-European life. Europe is now a place that exists in the past no one can access. I can access only the synecdoches of that Europe. I can look up old Olympia typewriters for sale from various online suppliers that respond to this demand for the past. If synecdoches worked outside of language, I could purchase one of those and possess my Europe distilled into an obsolete machine. Of course, more than a West German typewriter exported to America, I am a synecdoche of Europe. I never possessed any of it in the first place. That's in part how I was able to leave.