Tuesday, October 17, 2006

the harvard kids are smart, sure, but it's an indoorsy smart

Nice crisp sunny day yesterday in Cambridge. I am housed in the Center for Government and International Studies, which has two buildings on opposite sides of the street. These are often referred to as the North and South buildings, although technically their names are Knafel and South, because someone has donated enough for naming rights for the North building but no one has claimed the South one yet. I was walking from South to North today when I hurried looking student ran up to me and asked, "Which of these buildings is North?" I pointed at my shadow on the ground and then extended my arm upward and said, "North." He took my answer, but I'm not sure he understood the unstated generalization I was trying to convey. Then again, rights to naming the South building will be bought by someone who's last name is North (or, given Knafel is the name of the other building, Knorth).

6 comments:

rps said...

If only the sun had still been up when we got lost in Boston's urban magical realism district...

Anonymous said...

Since he was, as you say, "hurried" and thus trying to get somewhere quickly, perhaps he didn't have the time to entertain your teaching moment.

Anonymous said...

i do think rural midwesterners have a more developed sense of direction than many. my grandmother used to refer to rooms of her house in terms of direction ("you're in the northeast bedroom this time") rather than saying "the bedroom on right".

Anonymous said...

Pretentious Boob!

-Stella

dorotha said...

six or so years ago, my sister sent me to the grocery store to find baby food or diapers or something like that for my nephew. even though i had been going to the grocery store in question for five years, i hadn't ever paid attention to the baby stuff. my sister's directions were something like, "go to the northeast corner of the store, and turn toward the south. look down. should be right in front of you." yeah. i would have preferred it if she had just said, "know where the frozen peas are? it is on that aisle but in the part without freezer cases."

anyway, i've been meaning to tell you that i heard a commercial for upper iowa university. the commerical claims that they are "the best thing to come out of iowa." i hope all of the JFW readers out there realize that jeremy has competition for iowa's awesomest export.

AaronSw said...

So do you know George Scialabba then? I hear he works there.