Friday, December 07, 2007

what's a country?

an obscenely inflated self-assessment of my disposable income has brought me where i am at this moment: sitting in the bahrain airport, enjoying a two-hour layover on my way to dubai for the weekend.

i am the laziest traveler you've ever met. i never research where i'm going before i get there, and could just barely point out the general vicinity of my destination city on a map. thus, i have no idea where i am right now.

when i was little, i used to watch carmen sandiego after school every day, which was this kid's game show based on a computer game where you had to chase this detective all around the world. the very last challenge of the game involved the last player standing and a gigantic country map on the ground. when the round started, the host would start screaming the name of a country that i had vaguely thought had been dissolved, absorbed, or sublimated in a recent political conflict, and the player would grab a giant pole with a red siren on top and flail wildly around the map and stamp it down in a few different places until the siren started wailing, which meant that they had put the pole down on the right country on the map.

i always rolled my eyes when the kids couldn't figure out where the countries were, not because i thought they were stupid, since i'd thought that the name of the country that had been bellowed was actually the name of a city, but more because the host would continue to scream the country name while the kid ran in desperate circles of panic, clearly without a fucking clue as to where it was.

i hate that. everyone does that in pictionary, too. they draw a house, a family, a flower bed, a sun, and a sprinkler system, and you're shouting, 'FAMILY! NEIGHBORHOOD! CENSUS UNIT! SUBURBAN DEPRESSION!' and they're all, 'argh,' and then they draw 5 circles what they've already drawn, and point at it with the marker aggressively.

listen. i've been watching what you've been drawing. i've been guessing enthuastically. i have no idea what it is, and all those circles and large gestures are really doing are pointing out which part of the paper you've chosen to create your drawing in. hey, news flash - i saw it. take some art classes already.

then the little sand timer runs out, and they say 'uggggggggggh! it was personal landscaping. landscaping!!' and in my head i think, 'i'm not picking up your next phone call.'

anyway. yeah. being here reminds me of carmen sandiego. and pictionary.


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