Somewhere in the domestic male brain, crammed between 'How to Change the Oil in a '74 Chevy' and 'Best Southpaw Pitcher From Idaho' is 'Ability to Speak Coherently about Local Geography'.
That entire part is missing from my brain. I'm not sure what replaces it. Maybe 'Consistently Typos Teh' or 'Uncontrollable Desire to Own A Laser Blaster'. This is the predominant preoccupation with me, and, I think, anyone of my age group, that we're not quite adult yet. I might be resolved to never be an adult. Not that this was ever a goal, more like an eventuality, like calling kids "champ" or developing an unfeigned admiration of Patton.
But on occasion I'd like to fake it.
I divide the world into Places I Drive To and THAR BE DRAGONS. It doesn't help that my memory has never been that great. I've been known to forget my own birthday. Or forget the names of neighbours I've had for years. It's quite possible I've avoided a dementia diagnosis soley by not having an overlong conversation with a clinical psychologist. So it seems likely that I'm not going to remember what highway I need to get to that little out of the way municipality east of Kelowna known for its blueberry jam.
The distressing thing is that this is a fallback conversational item, not far off The Weather. And seeing as my ability to make believable, comfortable small-talk lies somewhere between that of a domesticated pygmy ant and a ulcerated hernia, my inability to contribute socially acceptable mouth noises does sometimes induce panic.
The names wash over me into recognizable but ultimately meaningless sounds, Castlegar, Salmon Arm, Oshawa, 100 Mile House, Oklahoma. Each one hiding a knowledge trap ready to reveal my inexcusable ignorance.
On the rare occasion I've attempted to keep up with a Geography Conversation, it's always ended in embarasment, puzzlement on both sides, and me biting back the conversational rejoiner I would have liked to add in, like "Remember that time when Apollo went up against that lone Cylon called Redeye, damn his laser blaster was so coool."