the enculturation process continues

An honest attempt at humor with one of my neighbors that went south earlier tonight:

“Well, we didn’t have a White Christmas, and now, so much for a White New Year’s!” she called out cheerfully to me as Damon and I walked past her.

“Seriously! Chalk it up to global warming!” I torted.

“Global Warming? What’s that?” she responded.

Joke deflated.

“Uhhh … well, it’s the concept that the temperature of the earth increases a little each year, causing warmer climates throughout the world,” I responded. You smarty-pants scientists out there, just gimme a break; that was the most technical answer I could think up on the fly.
“And that’s a good thing? A bad thing?” she asked, still dead serious.
“Well, I think most people agree it’s a bad thing,” I responded. “For instance, polar ice caps in colder climates around the world are melting, beginning to destroy entire ecosystems.”

She looked at me like I had three heads and was speaking Hebrew. “Oh, OK … so what does that have to do with us — here?” she asked.

“People have told me that the main impact on us is in our lifestyles, since it is likely that at least some of how we live — our cars, for instance, with the fumes they emit into the atmosphere — have contributed to these problems,” I explained.

She smiled. “Well then, I’m glad I don’t drive a car!”

“Sorry — I didn’t mean for that to be a science lesson,” I said as I walked away.

“I needed it!” she replied. “Happy New Year!”

Note to self: Self, don’t assume. You know what assuming does. And while you’re at it, be OK with people not knowing stuff that you know. Their problems probably hit a little closer to home than fretting over the amount of greenhouse gas they emit. Oh, and Self — you’re not as smart as you think.



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