Monday, February 18, 2008

Something beginning with 'C'

Getting there is half the fun. Playing ‘I spy’ is 67% of the fun of getting there, thus making it 33.5% of the total fun. Why cut yourself off from so much pleasure just because you’re stuck at home?

Come on: when was the last time you had a ripping round of ‘I spy’ at the office? With so much to spy, why wait another day? If you feel like movement is integral to the game’s success, whip up a game on the train to work: that first response may take a while to come, but once your fellow commuters get started they won’t be able to stop.

If ‘I spy’ just isn’t your speed, perhaps you could get your work team, tutorial group or knitting circle into a feverish bout of ‘I went to market and I bought a…’. Shirkers might be brought into line with a stern warning that memory games are a proven (and fun!) way to ward off Alzheimer’s.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cut off from culture

Language isn’t the only barrier when you’re visiting another country. Even when they speak English, the shared experience that a people has of local news, television shows, ads, childhood toys and favourite foods can make you feel terribly excluded. Imagine, for example, coming to America and trying to have a conversation with someone when you’ve never heard of Lucky Charms, Saturday Night Live, ‘Where’s the beef?’ or Mouse Trap?

You’ve probably never noticed just how often you refer to popular culture, especially in conversations with people you don’t know that well. While there’s no way to wipe every Monty Python sketch or Simpsons episode from your mind, you can experiment with cutting yourself off from culture. You’ll find it doesn’t take long to feel the effects.

Here’s what you do: for two weeks, don’t watch TV, read the paper or look at the internet. That’s it. OK, now try and have a conversation at the water cooler, with your car pool, at playgroup or waiting for class. Good luck!