The other night, as I was getting ready to leave the office I commented that I was heading home for the night. "Home?" one of my co-workers from the UK asked, "I thought you were here for a couple more weeks." The confusion that my coworker seems to be suffering under is that there is a definite difference between "home" and "Home."
There was a time that I used to hold the opinion that "Home is where the luggage is." Of course, back then, I was living three-hundred nights a year in a hotel somewhere and there was little for me to do when I got "Home" other than to get ready to go out on the road again. I can remember the exact moment that I came to think of Lakewood as "Home."
In 1999 I had more-or-less come off the road. I was the training coordinator at work and was at home far more than I was on the road. I was dating on-and-off, and had a large circle of friends around me. (I still have a large circle of friends - one that is transcontinental, in fact...) Life had settled into a comfortable routine when I was approached to go on a six-week install.
I returned to the Denver International airport and was met by the car service I used at the time. My bags in the trunk, I was sitting in the back of the car relaxing and thinking of the things I had to do when I got home. Roy, the driver, welcomed my home and asked if it had been a good trip. It was at that moment that "home" as applied to Colorado became "Home." I realized that I was glad to be back and was feeling that this was where I belonged.
With no offense, intended, in London (Thames Ditton) I do have a home, but not a "Home." Should the opportunity arise, I am certain that I would not mind the opportunity to live and work here in the long term (would but that I could only afford it - the cost of living here is impossible!) but I think it would be quite some time before London became "Home."
It's more than just the fact that I am still learning my way around, I can't tell what exactly it would take to capitalize "home" as applied to anywhere in the UK. Perhaps some day, I'll write another column telling what event triggered my thinking of London as "Home."
I hope that you are safe and happy at "Home" wherever that may be.
Don Bergquist - 30-January-2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom