Friday, July 14, 2006
Pretend this is a play and we're acting out a bizarre,
yet tiresome ritual. But it's not a play...it happens
all the time.
Here's the scenario...Lynn and I are waiting for an
appointment. The conversation is as follows:
Person: So, what brings you here today?
Us: We're finishing up our physicals for pre-employment.
Person: Who do you work for?
Us: Raytheon Polar Services Company.
Person: What do they do?
Us: We support the National Science Foundation in Antarctica.
Person: Wow...What's it like up there?
Us: Actually it's down south...in the Southern Hemisphere.
Person: Oh...so what do you do up there?
Us: Well, we take care of the scientists' needs at a remote
Person: Oh...I've always wanted to go up there to visit.
Us: Actually, it's down there...near the South Pole.
Person: That's great...sounds interesting...I may have to go
up there some day...my nephew lives in Alaska.
How many times per year do we have this exact or similar
conversation? All the time! I wonder if the people in the
Southern Hemisphere have the same problem when people discuss
leaving Cape Town or Auckland to visit the North Pole. "What's
it like down there?"
"Actually it'sup there."
Many times I have wondered what we Americans sound like to
people from the Commonwealth. We think they have the accents,
but they think we have the accent. Alas, I will never
know because I don't know any different. I have always spoken
this way and it will always sound the same. It seems it's the
same way with geography. I have always been good at geography
and am curious about those who are not. I know the difference
between Ulan Bator and Pyongyang. But many do not. Once we
were talking to someone about the Pacific Ocean and they actually
said, "Isn't that the one on the left?" Holy smokes...do people
not pay attention in school any more? It's an ocean! At least
know the oceans! A good majority of our country doesn't even
know how many states are in the United States. Truly Sad.
So as usual, we give a small sigh and carry on, and the
conversation comes to an end.
Person: Well have a good season up there...maybe you'll see
Us: (With a smile on our faces) OK...we will.
Me: (muttering under my breath) It's down...
Posted by Tom Hamann at 4:35 PM