Where Ya From?

So, where ya from, mate?

Not content with a pleasant ‘hello’, people have to ask questions. Where are you from? I mean, I could answer ‘from the police’ or something equally provocative, yet I am certain that the asking party actually wants to know is my abode or my birthplace, or both.

I should rightfully answer that I wasn’t there and that it had nothing to do with me, but since I am still a novice at the pokerface look, they may not believe my words.

So, why DO we ask such pointed questions? Is it to determine a person’s worth? Or assess their standing in the community? Sure, I can understand such questions when I am travelling, as people are inquisitive. However, my countrymen and women are a strange lot.

Therefore it confuses them when I simply say I am from Australia. Oh, but we have States and Territories, like Provinces in other countries. So, depending on which side of what border you began your life, they are likely to form a mental opinion about you, mostly based on where they are from. Yes. Think about it.

Does it matter? Seems it does to some. If you come from the same State or Territory as the asker, you are either considered as a friend, or viewed with suspicion if you don’t appear to fit their box or have the right attitude.

Gee, imagine that. Two people originate from the same State, yet do not recognise each other based on speech patterns or behaviour. Who would have thought that? And to not follow the local sporting code of wherever you’re from is sacrilegious. It is almost the same as living by the ocean and not being able to swim.

Whatever you do, try not to admit to that – it only leads to more questions. You can always try to short circuit the interrogation by saying you will tell them where you hid the body. They might leave you alone, or ask new and different questions, allowing you to make up a few answers of your choosing. A word of warning, its best to not be too specific about where you actually hid the body, if you are indeed being truthful.

In the current covid era, saying you hail from Melbourne Victoria, or from the Northern Beaches in Sydney is unwise. This sort of answer will only increase suspicions, and alienate you further. Ah yes, you may end up being blamed for a certain state of affairs. (Even more so, if your working title is security officer at a quarantine establishment).

But what does it really matter as to where we each are from? Are we Australians? Or have we always been a divided Nation? It seems we are a much divided Nation currently; geographically, politically, racially; so many things divide us right now. Being locked out of other States due to border closures and restrictions, unable to travel overseas, or unable to return to Australia – all these divide our opinions and us as citizens.

What about our heritage? Or ancestry? Does it raise some closet skeletons for you? I can mostly point back to the UK via my grandparents, with some input from escapees of the French Revolution. Earlier input may have been the result of the Norman invasion and subsequent raping and pillaging that is rumoured to have occured, which possibly accounts for my ability to hold a good tan, though my ‘Roman’ nose now burns too easily. Maybe I need a bigger hat.

Surely, where we are from matters less than the ‘in what circumstances did we grow through our childhood and teen years’. And were we poor or wealthy? Or privileged, or not? I was priveledged to have both parents still in the home as I reached maturity. Yet, to others I went to school with, that might have been viewed with jealousy.

Growing up in the city was a lot different to a rural upbringing. My weekends were spent riding pushbikes along dirt roads in the forest, bushwalking, catching crayfish to cook and eat, and camping. Life was full – catching lizards and snakes, stumbling into spider webs, spotlighting possums at night. City kids had a much different experience.

Where are you from? Who cares? Why not ask what exciting and varied things have you done that shaped you and your thinking? Everyone is a product of their environment, with a story to tell.

What’s your story?

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