Sunday, October 07, 2007

No, your other left...

You probably know already that I have no innate conception of left and right. I mean, I understand the basic premise and, with some thought, can often come up with the correct answer; but in stressful situations - driving, giving directions, etc - I usually start off with the wrong option.

As you might imagine, this leads to great hilarity in busy intersections and at the end of drives (I once sent my sister the wrong way on my street after an 11-hour drive from Minneapolis, luckily she is both smart and suspicious enough to have questioned my assertion).

It turns out, Alexis has a similar block at airports. There's always been this thing about Arriving and Departing that we get into just as the road is splitting and we're blocked in by speeding rental car shuttles:

"We're arriving at the airport."

"No, you're departing."

"That's ridiculous, we are just getting here."

Now, this makes sense in a sort of literal interpretation of dialectic and temporal issues...perhaps things need to be more carefully described as if acknowledging the complex interplay of actors where A=arrive, and D=depart:

The dropper-offer = A(airport), D(for home)
The flyer-upper = A(airport), D(for afar)

and later...

The picker-upper = A(airport), D(for home)
The flyer-downer = A(airport), D(for home)

You know, it is more complicated than I'd originally suspected, all the routes save one are identical...yet the experience of each party at each moment is vastly different. This requires some sort of phenomenological, rather than discursive interpretation.

What I didn't suspect is that this alternative definition of arrive/depart would skew all further communication as the trip progressed. On the way back, standing in the airport, the good doctor was asked:

"Is Denver your final destination?"

"No, no," pause and slightly increased volume for clarity, since luggage was delayed on the first leg "I'm going to San Diego!"

All heads in the San Diego airport turn in confusion.

"I mean Detroit. Sorry."


See, it's at these moments of juncture, when fast response is needed, that we're knocked slightly off the firm base of what we know we're supposed to think or say, and what's revealed is the fact that we haven't got a firm grasp of these modern conventions. Not a firm grasp at all.