Everyone has blind spots in their education. One of my favorite things to ask someone is “What’s the thing you’re embarrassed to admit you learned way too late?”
I read quite a bit, and always have. So there were many words I knew on paper, but never heard aloud.
For example, I’d seen lots of books talk about hors d’oeuvres. But I’d only ever been to parties with finger foods or appetizers or even “Or Derves.” I figured someday, when I was and adult, I’d go to a fancy party that had as I assumed it was pronounced “whores doo-vers.”
Other things were pretty similar. I thought Armageddon was pronounced “ar-MAG-uh-don”, which is actually the most bad-ass of the dinosaurs. A coworker still ardently pronounces it “epi-tome” and ,without any sense of irony, will not bend in her pronunciation of “com-promise.”
I believed the Allies fought a coalition of Not-sees and Naz-eyes in World War II. It just never occured to me that I only heard about the Not-sees verbally and only read about Naz-eyes. Like they were an offshoot organization from Lord of the Ring’s Naz-ghuls.
Fortunately, all these misconceptions were corrected last week, so I’m caught up.
I’m ashamed to admit that I still struggle with analog clocks. I see people glance at them and tell me the time. To me, it’s a friggin’ math problem. “Uh, ok. Which hand is the bigger one? Ok. And now the little hand is pointed at three, which means fifteen minutes. Processing…. it’s eleventy-twelve o’clock. Ish. Definitely.”
I would have fewer problems if I only used sundials or just counted each second from the last time I saw a digital clock. When someone asks the time and my only resource is an analog clock, I have a tiny panic attack. I cover this by mocking them for not having perfect chronological awareness:
“You don’t know what time it is? With the clock right there, where both of us can see it and immediately discern its meaning? Like normal, clock-literate people? Why, the state of kids today that they don’t know what time — it’s noon. I just got it.”