take me, for instance. since mr. monkey has a natural way with numbers, historical events and geography (i.e. how many poles killed in world war two or the population of vancouver) i have completely abdicated responsibility in this area. what's the population of canada, you might ask me. somewhere between 50 thousand and 32.5 billion. i mean, i know that's not precisely the case, and i know i really ought to have at least a general idea (ok, i have the general idea that canada's population is roughly that of poland, which always freaks out north americans who cannot conceive of that many people living that close together: "what do you mean not everyone has their own lawn mower? how can they live in such barbarity!?"). still, when you have your own personal google-man next to you, in some areas you tend to stop thinking for yourself.*
add to that my complete inability to make my brain remember certain things (i once had to make up a file on my desktop entitled fennel.txt, because i could not, for the life of me, remember the name of fennel. why i needed to is beyond me, since i have only recently started using it in my kitchen, but the frustration was very very real.)
case in point: we have a purveyor of fine quality sausages in our neighbourhood. he is a handsome young man from the former yugoslavia. and here is where it ends. all i know is that he is from that there part of the world. which particular part of yugoslavia he is from escapes me completely. i know i once made a monumental faux pas by asking him if he was from one and he, rather gently, told me he was from the other. you know, as in the mortal enemy side. like i'd just asked a jew if he was a nazi german. or something. and you'd think that being mortified by this would have indelibly etched his ethnicity in my brain. no such luck. mr. monkey, a lover of history, has had to (repeatedly) give me a crash course in the who's who of the serbian/croatian/bosnian thing, and all i have managed to internalise so far is that the bosnians are (
i'm certain i think probably possibly) muslim. and that's that. i know he's not bosnian. he's one of the other two. whatever he is, his sausages are amazing!
the thing is that i get so annoyed by the geographical/historical ignorance often exhibited by north americans ("belgium...that's in europe, right?"**) that i really hate exhibiting it myself. so i just buy my sausages and shut the hell up.
*and lest you think this is all one sided, just ask mr. monkey where the coffee grinder lives. no, really, ask him. he has NO idea.
**actual quote, i kid you not, from one studying education. another reason to be thankful for childlessness.