Where are you from?

“Where are you from?”

A perfectly innocuous icebreaker question from a Lyft driver trying to be friendly.

The answer, my friend is, “it’s complicated”. Where do I even start?

My parents are from $X country, I was born in $Y country, I now live in $Z country where I am now talking to you.

In some ways all three of those countries is a valid answer to that question as all of them inform some part of my identity.

Sometimes this question is not so innocuous and is asked in bad faith, for example, if I answer, “Canada”, I may get asked, “Yeah, but where are you really from?”. An asinine question really, like do you want me to go grab my Canadian passport and whack you over the head with it or what?

And then sometimes you have to do some big brain calculations as to how you want to answer the question. Like, “if I answer that I’m Bengali, I’m gonna have to answer questions about Bangladesh and my parents and I really don’t want to be doing that”.


Maybe I should start answering with an obnoxious, “Where am I not from?”, or “borders are all made up bullshit anyways, I’m a citizen of Planet Earth”. Take your pick.

My overall point here is that is question is not a icebreaker as much as it is an iceberg. You aren’t going to get anything but an evasive answer from me, more of a “ugh, are we really doing this? sure, let’s get on with it”.

Maybe try “How are you?” instead. Wait no, that one is even worse of an iceberg between strangers.

Fuck it, I like silence anyways.