Think of a place. Your favorite place in the whole world.
What are you imagining?
You’re probably thinking of the good times you had there, the people you shared your time with, the time the weather was perfect, those funny jokes that were made amongst your friends or family or something equally enjoyable.
You’re probably not thinking about that turbulent plane ride or cramped car ride you took to get there. I don’t think that time you got thirsty and cranky during a tour and fought with your family came to mind. That terrible jellyfish sting wasn’t involved in your memory of your favorite place?
Our favorite places have a way of doing that to us. The good memories drown out the bad ones. Not so much that you forget that they happened but just enough that you don’t mind them when your making your decision to go back.
It is because of this that I connected most with Pamuk’s description of his visits to Bosphorus with his family during his childhood. He explains traveling to Bosphorus on Sundays with his family and starting to growing weary of these trips especially the car rides and quarrels with his brother but it never actually taints the picture of Bosphorus in his mind’s eye. He explains, “In later years, when I would see other noisy, unhappy, quarrelsome families in other cars on he Bosphorus road… what impressed me most was not the commonalities in our lives but the fact that, for many Istanbul families, the Bosphorus was their only solace” (61). Although he realizes that there are unpleasant experiences associated with Bosphorus he still remembers it as the place he enjoyed. It’s a place he can go when everything else is wrong, a place that is always good even though circumstances around getting there or sibling interactions are not.
Long Beach Island is my happy place. It is where I want to be when I’m not there. It is where all my favorite memories with my family have happened. Experiences of being forced to frantically clean before the company arrives, fighting with cousins about what movie to watch, and a few debilitating sunburns fall by wayside when I call to mind images of my favorite place. “Life can’t be all that bad, I’d think from time to time. Whatever happens, I can always take a walk along” the beach (61).