The immigrant is sometimes taken by an urge, not to fit in, speak German or otherwise be a new sort of man, but to revert to old loyalties and lives. The fog of nostalgia swirls around him and news of home--his first and oldest home, that is--pelts the ground like spiteful oobleck. He parades about the cobblestones of Vienna while wearing his fathers' pointy black cowboy boots. He has his Austrian friends over for tacos and guacamole. He becomes more of a Texan than he ever was when he lived in Texas.
He begins to write a soppy e-mail to an old friend back in Austin. Without even meaning to indulge these sentimental kniptions, he puts on a CD that a Swiss mother burned for him recently. He bobs his head and sings along. He remembers the singer. Gary Floyd. A pink haired gay punk shaped like Divine. Gary Floyd sang about cruising married men in the adult bookstore on Saturday night. About policemen moonlighting in the Ku Klux Klan. Growling, pleading, screaming, accusing and begging you with a voice like blue fire. He sang for the Dicks and he was way, way, WAY more punk rock than you.
Then the immigrant is crying. Seizing up into a grimace and choking on tears that don't want to come out at first. He thinks of his hometown friend, a schoolteacher now but once a punk like him and weren't they both in the audience that night that Gary Floyd and the Dicks played Voltaires Basement? Is this sad? No. Where is Gary Floyd now--is he okay? Don't know. So why the tears?
Because everything is different and everything is also the same. Reaching out to that good old friend across an ocean listening to the same music twenty-five years or five minutes and three lifetimes away from that moment Gary Floyd touched us for the first time.
Because sometimes his brain is so full of names and pictures and feelings that it feels like he's going to burst. Tears come out instead.
* * *
The immigrant promises himself he will Google Gary Floyd. Then he gets back to work.