Wherever I Lay My Hat………..

11 12 2009

 

Sitting in the State House in Boston today, I was distracted.

Despite the impassioned rhetoric of Governor Deval Patrick, I was finding my thoughts were elsewhere. This may have had something to do with the astonishing mix of live mariachi band and DJ Manny, banging out a set that would not have been out-of-place in the Ministry of Sound, that had preceded the Governors’ fashionably late arrival at the Commonwealth Seminar.

It may have been the location. The ticket said Great Hall and I was directed to the magnificent Hall of Flags. It was the wrong Hall.

They actually meant the corridor in between the Great Hall and the Grand Staircase which was clearly not adequate for the sizeable crowd that turned out (I did find myself wondering how many had voted on Tuesday but subtle questioning of those around me seemed to give 100% turnout.)

It may have been the food, a choice of meat sandwiches and salad on one side of the corridor, vegetarian towards the restrooms. One line was shorter than the other and given my new found aversion to queueing, I chose the side which (from a distance) had more food on the plates. It sometimes pays to be an omnivore.

No, my thoughts were distracted by the various references to “home” that the warm-up elected representatives kept emphasising.

Mainly because I am heading to Bermuda for a week, then to London for a fortnight.

I don’t actually know where home is any more.

I have possessions here in Boston, in London (with my parents and my sister who is kindly looking after my car and my small CD collection) and in Bermuda, where I have stayed for as long as nine weeks in summer 2008.

I have three driving licences, UK, US and Bermuda. All of them have different addresses.

I have bank accounts in the UK and here, credit cards that are either UK or USA and get my statements airmailed from the UK.

I am not a tourist, tourists are “people who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”.

This definition does not help me. What is my usual environment? What is an activity remunerated from within the place visited?

I have spent the last few years engaged in all kinds of trips and have visited New Zealand four times, Australia (three), the USA (about fifteen before moving here in July), various parts of Europe, South Africa and Mexico. My usual environment to me seems to be the inside of a plane!

If I live in a place for a year and one day, what does that make me? Do I have to pay tax or get a job before I am considered part of this society? As ever, definitions throw up more questions than answers.

When I am homesick, what I am actually yearning for? Football, warm beer and rain? Beaches, Codfish and mad lunatics on scooters?

When does someone become something other than a tourist? Am I just a visitor (despite RA status), or does my interaction with the retail environment in the USA mean that I am a viable part of the economy whilst not contributing to “tourist dollars”? Am I not even considered to be a statistic? Have I transcended classification?

Wherever I lay my hat, thats my home. I am a Global Citizen.

With a British passport.

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One response

14 12 2009
Jeff Rosenspan

As a fellow globe-trotter, having lived in Johannesburg, Jerusalem, London, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and now on Mass Avenue in Boston, I applaud your efforts to define yourself as a summation of your tastes and desires. Add to that “physical anomalies” and that’s certainly more useful description than wherever you may happen to fry your eggs in the morning.

I think it’s less and less important where our ideas are coming from, anyway.

With the advent of the internet (can you tell I’ve got Christmas on the brain?) we now compile more data on our species than ever before. One hundred years ago, the opinions of the top ten thousand people were well-documented and preserved. Perhaps half that. These days millions of opinions are fluttering around the world, giving a detailed look at humanity from a more-representational sample.

In short: Blog on, my friend. One day there will be a two-hour lecture at a top university devoted to your “Sitting in the State House” musings, and the future scholars from around the globe, like I, will ask “By Football, did he mean Soccer?”.

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