Thursday, July 12, 2007

Resident Is, As Resident Does

I have never, for one instant, thought of myself as a resident of Pennsylvania. Ok, PA driver’s license, voter registration, lived here 28 years, blah blah. That’s the legal stuff and it sort of nails me down.

But for me, I’ve always “lived” where my family is. Until 1997, Lordship, Conn. (I really don’t like “CT”; it’s so impersonal, when “Conn.” is much nicer, easier on the eye.) When Mom passed on, my remaining family was living outside Quebec City and I identify with them. I’m not Quebecois, altho I’d like to be and have done my best to learn their language. When asked where I’m from, I tell people that my family is Quebecois; let them draw their own conclusions.

It has occurred to me that residency may hinge on much smaller things. Knowing where to swerve in the dark of night to miss potholes, for instance. When you can go down the street chatting with someone and not bounce in a hole, that might be a sign you are a resident.

If a person mentions where something used to be, it was before you arrived here and you know what they’re talking about, that might also be a sign. Or maybe when you hear a street name and know what borough it’s in, then you can be sure you have roots here.

Perhaps the driver’s license and voting card just indicate where you sleep at night. You can have them and not give a whit about the area. Or, you can be a resident in all the real senses, yet still say, “My family is Quebecois.”


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