Friday, January 04, 2008

Where in the world is Reeva Dubois

I had hoped, dreamed, yearned that the Christmas holidays would provide enough time and distance from this crappy, festering, turd-farm of a workplace, but… alas and alack, my attitude hasn’t improved at all. I’m so bored that I’m getting pissy, and that’s a lot of crazy-talk coming from me, because I’m usually more than happy to be bored and listless. I had all these notions that the office would be busy and productive after the break, which would make the time go by faster (and more bearably {is that a word? Oh, screw it}), but I feel like I’ve been sitting here just like this since December 1st, like the vacation never even happened.

Part of my frustration is that I left all of my posts-in-progress on my computer at home (normally when I work on something at home but don’t finish, I email it to myself at work, rather than lug around thumb drives or disks [not that thumb drives or disks can be lugged, really, since they weigh practically nothing – but it is just another thing to remember in the morning – it’s mental lugging, you see]), but last night I forgot to shoot that email, so I found myself with none of my usual means of appearing busy. I totally meant to get those posts online before the break ended, but… didn’t, obviously, and now I feel behind. I would write them off completely if they weren’t already more than half-way complete. Also, I flatter myself that I have readers that are sincerely interested in reading them. To them I say, Soon. Soooooooooooonnnnnnn.

Anyhoodle, everyone is always asking me what I actually do at work, since I’m always talking about how bored I am. Well, usually I’m writing, but on the days I’m not, I try to explore a new topic or interest. Today, I got interested in geography.

I didn’t pull geography out of my ass or anything – there’s a logic to it. Mostly, the fam is all abuzz over Li’l Sis’s imminent departure from these here hills to venture over the wide, wild ocean to the dazzling, exotic, and very artsy streets of Spain. Sidebar: she had the audacity to commission a brand spanking new scarf for her trip (and it’s turning out fabulous, pictures coming soon). All this talk of passports and Moorish architecture and currency conversion and flamenco dancing has inspired some serious wanderlust within my soul. I would love to see Spain one day, and many many many other places as well, which prompted me to google the world’s most famous landmarks for to plan the Reeva Dubois World Tour That Will Probably Never Happen.

As I was scrolling through a list of Popular Destinations that I found on Wikipedia, I followed a link to a cute little quiz. It’s straightforward enough. The quiz asks you to click as close as you can on the city or place given. Your score is based on how close you get. It isn’t as easy as it might seem. For example, when asked to identify Yellowstone National Park, I always go too far to the west because I have this weird spatial problem with those huge western states. I know the park is in Wyoming, but, to me, Wyoming is one of those square states over yonder (yonder meaning west), so I always overshoot (no offense to Wyoming). It might also be that I’m confusing Yellowstone with Yosemite, which makes me want to click closer to California. The POINT IS, today I discovered that I suck at geography.

Sadly, it seems I’m not doing my part to improve South Carolina’s image…

Anyway, I learned a lot, and it was eye-opening, and just a tad depressing. Try the quiz here and let me know how you do.

(It would have been nice if Blogger had enough room to post it, but as it is, I'm going to have to use a link. Clickie!!

[hangs out while you take the quiz]

Well? How did you do? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete moron. I did Ok in the European countries, you know, with cities like Paris and London and Rome and stuff, but I was shocked when it became obvious that I had no clue where most of the Eastern European and Scandinavian cities were. It only got worse in Africa, Central/South America and Asia. For some of those, I considered myself lucky just to identify the country.

I mean, it was one brainfart after another. Like, getting confused as to which Scandinavian country is which… I’m embarrassed to type it, but it’s true. It was humbling to realize how much I didn’t know about the world once all the words were erased from the map. Just so you know, Norway is the one with all the fjords… on the left. Another example: South American cities. I don’t think I was close on any of those – except for maybe Rio. By the way, what is up down there? I mean, you hear about Africa and the Middle East everyday, what with all the genocides and epidemics and religious/tribal/ethnic strife. Is everything cool in Latin America, or are we just ignoring them?

After my first couple of tries, I was so mortified of my ignorance that I decided that today I would officially learn all the countries of Africa, AND figure out how those countries in Eastern Europe are laid out, AND learn where the major cities in China are, AND get a grip on all those islands in the South Pacific, AND (and I’m totally embarrassed to admit this one) finally get the Canadian provinces straight… yeah, that’s pretty pathetic.

So that’s what I’ve done all day, and once I felt like I had a reasonable handle on the countries, the cities sort of came intuitively. I still have no idea what’s going on down there in the South Pacific, and the Caribbean is still really confusing, but I’m gratified to know that I can now differentiate between Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, & Guinea. I’m also happy to report that I now understand that The Maldives is an island nation and not a mountain range. And finally, in the biggest intellectual coup of the day, I now know that Bermuda is situated directly east of me, all sad and lonely out there in the Atlantic Ocean, as opposed to where I thought, which I won’t share, mostly because it will make you wince so hard you’ll get instantaneous wrinkles. And that’s never a good thing.

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