As I'm sure that we all do, once in a while I find myself in a weird mental place. It's not deja vu exactly, but more like a feeling that something is just OFF from the norm. Seven years removed from college, I still feel mightily connected to that place, and a few weeks ago, a quick stop in town (at the Subway nonetheless) brought on that surreal feeling.
Our wanderings in the summer take us directly through that little town often, and we have always had family and/or a friend who lives there that have drawn us back to our old stomping grounds. The church where we were married is right on the main highway that we travel, and it's hard not to feel nostalgic driving by on a sunny day. The campus is small and just a quick detour off of the main road. My first apartment is just across the street from campus so that if you drive by one, you drive by both. Also, I continued to play for the college orchestra for 2 years after I graduated. And, if you skim through my Facebook friends list, the predominant group is made up of college friends and with whom professors I still keep in touch. In short, I still have a lot of ties to that place, and all of them are centered around me as a not yet married early 20-something English major who spent a lot of time in the music department and Admissions office. Therefore, escorting a bubbly 3-year old and sleepy infant out of the local Subway (where, again, I formed some GOOD TIMES memories--did you know that sometimes you can buy just the bread if a random Subway bread hankering hits during a game of euchre on a cold and rainy day?) just didn't seem quite right.
Shlepping my kids around any other Subway in the continental United States is perfectly natural in my mind. It's one of Abby's go-to spots when given the dinner choice (she knows the places that deliver the chocolate milk). And it's a relatively cheap way to feed everyone when you're on the road during a meal time. But working the maternal angle at the Subway in North Manchester, now that's not quite the same. It's not the way that it's always been. It's weird, unnatural. Surreal.