“Because you are born on a farm….”

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Emerging from “Valérie’s” car onto her parents’ Paris driveway….

Excerpt from
Excerpt from “Frontiers,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

I thought I’d share that bit from Frontiers. (You may be interested in the *note at the bottom of this post, about a line in that above.) “It” is “1995.” Not that long ago.

A Paris view. [Very old photo, by me, 1994. Look familiar? It's on the back cover of Passports.]
A Paris view. [Very old photo, by me, 1994. Look familiar? It’s on the back cover of Passports.]

In 2015, we know even more about each other globally than we did then, or ever have previously. Or at least we *think* we do thanks especially to new “social media” that allows most of us to put our lives – wherever lived – front and center for possibly anyone to see almost anywhere else on the planet. We are living through a fascinating (albeit occasionally exhausting) time unlike any before in all history.

What are we really? What is “our culture?” How do we fit in if we live in a land where we weren’t born? How do we see others when we are actually thrown together physically with those we consider different from ourselves, and how do they see us?

Recently, here in England, we went to a church we don’t normally attend. Shaking my hand as we departed, the priest, rightly not recognizing me as regular member of the congregation, asked me in routine, friendly fashion, “And where are you from?”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a silhouette of an airplane in the sunset.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a silhouette of an airplane in the sunset.

I wasn’t sure how to answer. I blurted out, “I’m from New York originally,” as I shook his hand.

He appeared taken aback when he heard my voice and answer. I suppose he had initially figured I would say Bristol or something.

As you may know, I was born in the City and grew up on Long Island. Since hitting adulthood, I’ve spent more of my life outside of the U.S. than within it. I will probably become a British citizen eventually, yet I always feel like an American and a New Yorker. I even still feel like a Long Islander – even down to being unable to resist rooting for the New York Islanders (ice hockey team) – despite the fact that I no longer have any personal ties to Long Island whatsoever and haven’t had any in years.

I don’t think I’ll ever not feel that way about myself, though. But that’s just me. Everyone has their own perspective on themselves, of course.

Have a good Tuesday, wherever you happen to be in our mixed up and ever more complicated world. 🙂

______
*NOTE: “If a gentleman happens to be born in a stable, it does not follow that he should be called a horse.”

That famous statement is usually attributed to the Duke of Wellington….

“Wellington,” by Richard Holmes. [Photo by me, 2015.]

….but the rather big problem with that is there is no proof Wellington ever said anything like it.

Its misattribution may be rooted in that a 19th century Irish politician did say something like that about the Duke. Arthur Wellesley, the future Wellington, had been born in what was then British-ruled Ireland (in Dublin, in what is today obviously the independent Republic of Ireland). In saying it, that politician had actually been asserting that the Duke was *not* truly Irish despite the island having been his place of birth.

Further thoughts?

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