Dear Geography

16 Mar

Dear Geography,

You are confusing. You are not my best subject.

For example: south is not “down” and north is not “up” despite what the legend would appear to indicate.  This is made additionally confusing because we refer to northern places as up there and southern places as down here, i.e., “So when are you coming up here?” or “Are you headed down to California soon?”

Also: New York is both a city and a state, and often people don’t bother to clarify of which they are speaking. Also: the capitol of South Dakota is a French name.  Also: boundaries between states/countries/etc are not only not straight lines, but they also sometimes don’t follow rivers, mountains, or any other logical demarcations.

Also: countries sometimes change their names.  Whole countries! Disappearing over night! Confusing mapmakers and fourth graders everywhere! (Mostly me.)  Also: a lot of little countries look very similar and are located very close to one another (see: Eastern Europe) (also: Southeast Asia).

Also: in eighth grade we had to memorize all the states and all their capitols, and then all the countries and all their capitols, and we had to do this by filling in maps and labeling them.  The kicker?  We had to color the maps in and were graded on aesthetics.  HALF THE GRADE was based on our COLORING ability. Eighth grade.  This tells you three things: 1) how valued geographic knowledge was in my education (not) and 2) how bad I am at coloring and 3) how nerdy I am.  Any normal (i.e. well-socialized and fun, well-rounded human being) would love the fact that half their grade was based on coloring.  It stressed me out (see: my feelings re: crafts).  And yes, I am bad at geography, but I am great at memorizing things (see: above reference to Pierre, South Dakota).  So yes, I would have preferred that my whole grade was based on the supposedly more high-pressure task of memorizing 237 countries and their capitols.  I know, right?!?

(I stand by this preference today.)

Anyway, all of this combined has added up to what my friend has dubbed “MM geography facts” also known as things I say that sound like fact but which, in reality, I have just made up.  See: “Santa Barbara is at least six hours from here.” See: “the cost of doughnuts is rising due to the increased value of water in desert communities.”  See: my explanation of where East-side suburbs are in relation to Seattle (I would explain, but I can’t).  See: “poetry professors are more highly valued today due to the devaluation of business-financiers as caused by the collapse of wall street.”  See: “Mormons are going to outlast everyone in the apocalypse due to their ability to bake bread and build things with their hands and procreate” (this last one is actually, 100% true).

Anyway, geography, wishing you all the best and no hard feelings except about the coloring thing,


PS–Do NOT ask me the capitol of North Dakota. I don’t know it.


3 Responses to “Dear Geography”

  1. skhor 17 March 2010 at 9:08 am #


  2. margaret michelle 17 March 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    i prefer to leave some things in life a mystery…(most math problems, for example).

  3. Dalia 5 January 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I’m not sure if speaking the crnotuy names would help I have to write them down, I think. The only thing that helps me with this game is to work continent-by-continent. That helps a little bit, but I usually forget many of the small island nations in the Pacific. Oh and then there are all the new Eastern European countries! I have a hard time remembering their names, since they got created long after I left school!

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