I realized something tonight. I know some stuff about some fairly obscure subjects. I guess that’s what prompted Jenny’s comment the other week, “You’re my friend who knows stuff.”

It’s not like other people don’t know stuff, it’s just that they seem to ask me when it comes to, say, species of birds or animals, etymology, English literature, or Western Eurpoean history. Okay, I have a degree (or enough courses to count as one) in the last two, but, really, my knowledge comes from looking things up.

My realization came today when one of my work colleagues asked how a person would teach the difference between a vowel and a consonant. I thought for a second and said, that other than repetition of AEIOU (sometimes Y can come later), she could probably get the kid to shout. You can’t shout unless it’s a vowel. She thanked me, and said, “I wanted to ask you, because you’re the expert.”

How did I become the expert? Everyone else at my job is a Primary teacher. They’re the ones who have formal training in teaching people to read. Me? I realized I needed to know more about it than I could remember from teacher training, and I went online, and I went to the library.

What does this say? Do very few people wonder about something and then go and find a way to learn more about it? If not, why not? How can they not be curious? Maybe this is what ‘lifelong learning’ really is. I’m just flipping back in my calendar and I see notes: Werewolves. Beef rib recipe. Starbucks all sizes. Writing for teens. Writing prompts. UC Davis campus. Princeton. Arthropods. All things I wanted to know more about, so looked into them.

Granted, there are giant gaps in my knowledge: Pregnancy. Childbirth. Ethiopian cuisine. Anything beyond gravity, in physics.

But, you know? I’m ok with not being a know-it-all. For now.

Today’s word: Ye poan: Beautiful (poan rhymes with roan, which is the name for a horse whose coat is, in human hair terms, salt-and-pepper) With a bit of an emphasis on the ‘oh-an’.

3 Comments to “Knowledge”

  1. By Zen, September 28, 2005 @ 11:55 pm

    I can help you out with the Ethiopian Cuisine:
    Nyala on West 4th, just down the block from Topangas, and before where Black Swan Records used to be. Go, and order some sort of “meal for two” or something, and then try the black sauce stuff. My GOD that stuff was good.
    Oh, and don’t be floored by the link on their site for “Chinese Menu.” It’s for their menu In Chinese.
    Probably a much better Chinese menu than the dog’s breakfast that they call an “online menu…”
    Oh yeah, and just for fun, check out the snazzy Flash intro at the beginning of the site (, which happily 404s when you click on the… uh… yak? at the end.)

  2. By Phil, September 29, 2005 @ 4:20 am

    Just found your snippet on the horse name, and although I’ve been around horses for years, I’ve never heard that before. Where does it come from? It sounds really interesting.

  3. By Liz, September 29, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

    Funny, I was thinking of Nyala when I wrote it. Despite the fact that I live, what, two blocks from it, I’ve only been there once, and that was about eight years ago! Check, will go try black sauce.

    I think the animal at the end of the Nyala site is a wildebeest. Maybe a gnu. Remember, no gnews is good gnews!

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