America is a pretty important place. And yes I call it America, because that is how I grew up hearing it. I like the name, too, what’s there to say. A-mer-i-ca. Merica. Murica.
If it suddenly stopped existing, which if we believe what anyone says, could be any day now, then I would like to live somewhere as civilized.
Civilized, international, full of natural resources.
That’s how I see the US. I mean, how can I answer this question without speaking to what I already like in this country? There is a reason I live where I live now, a reason I’ll live where I’ll live soon (Romania), and a reason why before long I will have returned.
Spain, I would live in Spain. Notice I didn’t say the country had to be rich. Just civilized. Spain to me represents a den of culture, surrounded by water, ports on all sides. In Spain you have a city of every type: a metropolitan capital, a literary coastal multilingual metropolis, many food cities, hidden villages with secrets, and occupied cities! (Gibraltar?) Everything. The country is too romantic to pass up. I would have lived there, if I had had the guts in 2013.
Or I might settle in France, for the people, for the wine, for the castles, for the conversation.
Or leave Europe behind, I would live in St Petersburg. There one is welcomed. Allow us to dream. Dive in a cafe, stay inside during the winter, or stroll the streets knowing you will never get lost, because the streets are so wide.
Go even further, if forced to hunt or fend, I would like to live for a few seasons in the Great Plains of China — hermit-style, enveloped by a vast display of beauty — or roaming the Tibetan Plateau, pitching up tent with you know who. No wifi there, babe, so we would have to invent new words everyday, to keep busy as we sharpen sticks.
(She just messaged me that the Great Plains are ok, as long as she has wifi. Hmm. So much for inventing new words.)
((My mind expands with the possibilities of this post, where to go now with this writing, I ask. Have I been too literal?))
I remember playing Risk with classmates during lunch in high school. Between conquering territory we would image the fall of the United States. “No empire lasts forever,” claimed our history teacher, the gentleman who lent us his computer during lunch to play. “What makes you think our imperialist country would?” We, his disciples, nodded, continued playing. It led us to picture the fall of the US. (I’ll get back to this post, about where I would live if the US stopped existing, one sec.) It occurs to me that where I would live has a lot to do with how this country would cease to exist.
Example, from real life, I met Ela. She lives in Europe. The moment I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, the US ceased to exist for me. So I literally am moving away.
But, let’s image another scenario, say, the US falls under attack (now that’s a classic fear) by a world power. It doesn’t matter what world power. In that case, I’m throwing El quijote, Anna Karenina, and Finnegans Wake in a backpack and I’m running to Mexico. A sensitive reader would ask, what about my favorite author, Bukowski? Cmon I would add him too. A politically correct reader might ask, what about some woman writers? Ok, I mean, I would miss my Lahiri and Cameron and Nunez, I’ll see if I can’t toss em in the backpack, too. Serious as serious can be in this fall of America picture, am I supposed to carry the entire weight of my own library on my back as I ride away?
I’d also need journals and pens, unless I snag them as I go . . . ok invasion scenario over. Except to say, what if Mexico invaded the US? Then I’d run north, but that is the only possible way I am running away to Canada.
Another example, what if the US dissolves internally, the way Rome did before the barbarians took advantage of the fact. Then I could move out west, that’s an option. But the post asks for extra-American domiciles. So, ok in the case of an internal collapse, or, forget the abstract, instead envision a few power plants melt down, then I would still cross the southern border, and live the rest of my life with the vague hope of reaching northern Argentina, vagabonding with Ela until we reached the promised land.
What about zombie apocalypse? If the whole world is affected, then we steal a boat, DUH, and make it to a Caribbean island. If not for any reason but that these islands are reachable within a day, and that if we ever got bored with one then we could hop over to another. But on islands or open sea, for sure, we would repopulate the earth.
What if the US merged with another country? What if the constitution were amended irreparably, what about dictators, or mad mobs, or alien take over? Jeez.
Let’s just say, in most other mad ass examples imagined, I would probably still live here. What this place has got, family above all, natural resources, beauty, history, symbolic worth, civilization, is just my cup of tea.
Where would you live?