Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Simultaneously Amused and Embarrassed

Surrounding me on the AirBART bus from Oakland airport last night were a bunch of college students, mostly from the USA, but also including one Korean and one from the Netherlands. In listening to one of the American girls, I was both amused at her lack of knowledge of the rest of the world and embarrassed on behalf of my fellow Americans at the same time.

At one point she was quoting some very rude things (in British English) that she couldn't even figure out what they meant. (I won't quote them here, but I'm sure y'all can think of examples.) Then came the geographic failure that almost made me laugh out loud. One of the group said he had been to Calgary, and Miss Oblivious said, "That's in Texas, right?"

To their credit, some of the others in the group, including the one who had been there, knew that it was of course in Alberta, Canada, and told her so. She insisted that she thought it was a big city in Texas. My thought was, "Having a bunch of people who wear cowboy hats does not a Texas city make it," but I kept my mouth shut.

I think she only had a vague idea where Canada is -- or any other country for that matter. For that matter, even though she'd just come off an airplane, she may not have really known where she'd been relative to where she was now. Airplanes simply swallow you at one point and spit you out at another with little feeling for the distance or direction in between.

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