Thursday, February 22, 2007

third culture kids

"so, where would you like to be buried?" the lesser asked question, but certainly in the top 5 of; 'this is a response of essay length proportions'.
"so, where are you from?"
"well, where is home?"
"well you sound like youre from australia"
-finally! an answer i can be sure of. "no, i was born in south africa".
"oh yeah, i can hear it in your accent now. but youre white."
"no, i have a british accent".
"wow! i loved princess diana, she was so great!"
"i'm not british!"
"well, where's your passport from?"
"england, but im not british"
"well, where do your parents live?"
"oh, michael jackson is living there. so what do you think about the war?"
"well, i haven't really lived there since i was a teenager"
"well, where'd you go to school?"
"saudi arabia..."
"did you have to wear a veil?"
"...and the united arab emirates..."
"do they have supermarkets there?"
"...and london..."
"have you met the queen?"
"...and kentucky..."

a passport, accent, hair/eye colour combo, name with more consonants from the end of the alphabet than vowels and sticky address labels are only parts to the gestalt. sometimes the definition feels more constructed by the negative; what i'm not.

conversations that go "oh, you went to westfield high, did you know mary adderly?" "yeah, she was friends with joe mcall?" "oh, he's the one the dated emily brown". the degrees of separation are more incestuous than a trailer park. tck conversations are more about the common experience than the person in common; "did the locals ever follow you down the street and try to touch your hair?"

this past tuesday i was asked repeatedly if i had voted; i am an alien, legally in this country, and by default everywhere else. i could cast my ballot in england, but without an attachment to my passport country or an investment to settle there in the future it feels silly. i cant answer where i'm from with a minimum word count. not honestly. i used to think i would be like new clothes for xmas and "grow into", or realize by thunderbolt and an orchestra playing the appropriate national anthem where i was "from". instead i have become accustomed to the constant adolescent state of not knowing. despite the delusion that i (and all those i love) will live forever, i don't know that i want to be interred in any one specific location- unless of course it was somewhere really cool that would give friends and family a good excuse to travel for a visit.

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