Thursday, September 07, 2006

The world as I know it...

We all live in "the real world", but more importantly we all live in "our own worlds". Individual worlds created by life experiences, interests, actions and serendipity.

Some may find my world kind of nerdy. I have always found science interesting, I think I started asking for a chemistry set when I was about 5. I was influenced by some sort of Dr. Science or Mr. Wizard show that I saw on TV. I ended up studying science (botany) in college, and have spent my working career (since I was 17 - yikes) working in various labs.

One of the undergrads from my lab was sitting in the lounge at work perusing a copy of Audubon magazine. We chatted a minute, and I found out he'd never before heard of the Audubon Society. I was dumbfounded, a biology major who had never heard of James Audubon? Or the Audubon Society?? How could that be? In the 1800's Audubon described and painted all the birds in North America. It struck me as the kind of thing all biologists (even students!) would know. I polled my fellow lab members about this. The senior members, PhD students, faculty etc. of course all knew Audubon, but half of the young students in the lab had no idea who he was, most thought Audubon was a highway in Germany (autobahn!). I was really suprised that my "common knowledge" wasn't everyone's common knowledge.

This all got me thinking about how we all live in our own little worlds. In my nerdy little scientific world being familiar with conservation agencies, such as the Audubon Society is a given. We assume that people we associate with live in our world too, so it is a suprise to realize that there are things in "our world" that others know nothing about.

I guess there are many things in "the real world" that I'm oblivious to.
(Of course I don't know it! - LOL)

There are probably people out there that would be equally shocked to find that I don't know, what is to them, common knowledge. For instance, a few weeks ago I took the kids to see the movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby". I had no idea that this movie was about car racing and that in fact Talledega a real place. I'm sure that somewhere out there there is a NASCAR fan who would read this and shake their head in shock and dismay, stunned that someone had never heard of the Talledega Superspeedway. It's just not my world. At least I'd heard of NASCAR, which I bet is an acronym for, hmmm, I have no idea!
Living in our "own worlds", different as they are, may be what makes "the real world" a really interesting place!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is just a friend from the lampwork community. I really have enjoyed reading your blogs. Maybe some day you can check out mine!
I love your posts and like reading your views and questions. I saw your posts about your children. Teenagers, what a joy! I saw the debate on whether or not your daughter should get her nose pierced or not, and i think that you should go ahead and let her, but discuss the risks and responsibilty that comes along with it.