Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where are You From?

Why is this a hard question?

Well, sometimes it is. 

While hanging out tailgating in the parking lots outside M&T Bank Stadium where the Ravens played on Thursday night with my oldest son, I heard that question about origins more than I have heard it spoken in a long time.


And it turns out I had a problem with the question. Sometimes the question is not clear. Really!

Did the questioner mean to ask about what community I am living in right now? Or where I drove into the game from?

Did the person want to know where I was born? Or grew up? Or where I call home? Or some other place that I may have an attachment to? Did they mean country? Or state? Or county?

For some people, I realized,  the answer is relatively easy--they are form the same place where they have lived their entire lives. Not so in my case.

I really started to think deeper about the question when my son answered it with a place name for a town where I had never lived and I realized that the question had potentially many twists and turns in the answers. 

In my mind, he was from everywhere. That is how his childhood was characterized, following me career around the world and moving every two to three years and therefore never really becoming deep in a community. 

I chose to answer the question more simply by indicating the place where I have lived for the past almost 13 years. But, I could have chosen to name another small town in upstate NY as the place where I was from--but the question seemed to be looking for a more local answer. 

There is a need to be FROM somewhere, I realized. 

The correct answer to the question may be "that depends" but that would be a definite conversation killer.

Where am I from? I am from a lot of places with a lot of experiences, but the easiest answer is that I am from Elkridge.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD



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