19 February 2013

Rabbit Trails and Dust Bunnies

Things I learned about today: the meaning of "heuristic"; Burma; Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (no, not the Duke of Wellington. This guy was his brother.); Singapore; Stamford Raffles; the fact that Queen Victoria at age 44 looked about 60, and that John Brown was a couple of years younger than her; where Jaipur and Udaipur are on a map of India; that Wellington was the Queen's great-great-great-something-uncle; that the Queen Mum grew up in Glamis Castle (you know, as in Macbeth? Thane of Glamis? Except her dad was the real deal, and didn't murder any kings, either.) and that she rejected her husband's marriage proposal twice because she didn't want to be a member of the Royal Family (never mind queen)... oh, and probably a few other things that I'll remember at some opportune moment. And all of that while I was supposed to be reading a chapter in Alastair Pennycook's The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language.

You see, I get off on rabbit trails. Wikipedia is really bad for that. You look up Wellesley because he's mentioned in the book, and it says on the wiki that he was the Queen's great-great-great-etc-grandfather, so you click on the link about the Queen, and then on one about the Queen Mum, and so on and so forth... And then you finally wrench yourself back to the textbook, and read about Malay, and you realize you have no clue what exactly they're talking about, so back to Google you go. Half an hour and several dozen rabbit trails later you emerge, and drag yourself back to your book, only to be confronted with the name Stamford Raffles, as if this was somebody your mother went to Kindergarten with and you'd heard about him all your life. So of course you have to look him up; information is important, isn't it? Lippity-lop down the rabbit trail...

And you know what's at the end of the rabbit trails? Dust bunnies, that's what. You see, the more rabbit trails you follow in the course of your day, the less time you have to get out your trusty ostrich-feather duster, or your not-quite-so-trusty cordless rechargeable dust buster, and go after the fluffy little critters in the corners of you living room and under the couches. So they multiply, growing by leaps and bounds. Which is probably why they're called dust bunnies, those leaps and bounds. Lippity-lop... A house with dust bunnies is a sure sign that its inhabitants are prone to following rabbit trails.

Incidentally, I wonder if Stamford Raffles had anything to do with raffle tickets? Maybe he was the original fundraiser, selling draw tickets for early-nineteenth-century arts and crafts to support his trip to Asia, and that activity was called "raffling" after him. Eh? I'm going to have to look it up.

Life, the Universe, and Rabbit Trails. Beware the dust bunnies at the end of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment