I do. I’ve been trying to hide it for years, but it’s the bold, dirty truth: I suck at Geography. Of the United States, to be specific.
The thing is, I moved a lot when I was young. In 1st grade I went to a local Christian school, where they taught Geography in 2nd grade. But I moved to a school in the next town over for 2nd grade and there, they were going to teach geography in 3rd grade. Just when I was ripe with anticipation for 3rd grade, I bopped back to a public school in the town I just came from… where unfortunately they had just taught Geography in 2nd grade.
I know it must seem silly. You must think that I have run into U.S. Geography plenty of times in my life and that this constant interaction should suffice for competency in the subject. Well, I haven’t, and it doesn’t.
I did, however, study South American Geography in 8th grade. I got the downlow on all those big bad countries and capitals – and meanwhile found out for the first time in a conversation in the same grade that Washington D.C. was not actually in Washington State.
Some time ago, Dave came home from the local art store with gifts in tow. He came bearing a huge smirk and a placemat that sported a map of the United States. He knew I was embarrassed about the situation and thought that if I ate off of a picture of it (because I eat so often) that I would eventually be a wizard at it.
But that placemat, paired with the one listing the U.S. Presidents in chronological order (gotten for himself) made my dining room look like a preschool. So I tucked it under the bar.
When I was in college, a friend (let’s call him Bart) was disgusted with my lack of competency in both geography and history that he sent me links to online games to help me learn the states and capitals. Unfortunately, I was in the midst of my World of Warcraft addiction at the time and was much more interested in the geography of Azeroth.
Now, I’m not a complete moron- I’m aware of states and capitals out of sheer frequency of encounter. But I have to admit that if you handed me a map of the U.S. and asked me to fill in the names of states, I would probably jumble together the order of the ones between Pennsylvania and California. Above and below those, I’m not too shabby.
I could have easily sat down and made a point to study them, and I have many times. But honestly, I just get so bored and tend to wander onto web pages like “Most Frequently Misspelled Words” and “Most Common Grammatical Mistakes” instead.
So I’m sorry, America, that I still tend to struggle with where exactly everything is inside you. But sometimes when I think about it, the earth is all our land and borders are silly, manmade invisible lines as if drawn down the middle of two siblings’ sides of the bedroom. So maybe I can just say that I’m not that into learning where the borders are because I choose to disregard the validity of their claims. Is that hippie of me? Or is that just an excuse for sucking?
Perhaps a little of both. ♣