Saturday, September 17, 2005

Why is the sun over THERE?

So where was I? Driving? With the windows rolled up, doors locked, air con on, sun shining in the bluest sky imaginable, radio blasting ... and getting lost. One thing nobody bothers to mention when you move to a different hemisphere is that the sun is in the wrong place. Oh, it comes up in the east all right, and it still sets in the west, but the rest of the time, well, it’s completely wrong.

I kept wondering why I was going south, when I was actually driving north, and going north when I was really southward bound. For a girl who grew up in the Midwest, where almost every town (save the one I actually lived in!) is laid out on a north/south/east/west grid, well, an internal compass is vital. Maybe this is why I never learned “right” and “left” -- I’ll always tell people, “turn east on Roosevelt Road, then north on Main....” Obviously not everyone thinks this way, judging by the blank looks I received (especially in England).

So anyway, you look at the sun in the sky and orient yourself... but you’re going the wrong direction. That’s because the sun travels across the northern sky, stupid!

Some of the letting agents were showing us houses, and extolling the virtues of this or that room ...”it has a fabulous northern exposure...” And I’m thinking, “what do I look like, Van Gogh??!? Why would I want north light?... that’s for an artist’s studio, you goose!” But no, northern light is the sunny side. Gosh, that explains a lot. It’s all back-asswards!.... (Or back-arsewards, in Brit.)

However it’s still hard to retrain 47 years of orienteering habits, so maybe I’ll just buy a compass for the car. That might be easier. Now, if I could just work on “left” and “right”.... anyone got any tips? I’ll warn you though.... tennis coaches, driving instructors, fitness trainers, my family, have all given up in despair....You will be next!

No comments: