25 July 2005

A Little Geography Lesson

Do you ever have one of those conversations where you leave thinking the person must've been pulling your leg because, really, no one can be that stupid?

This afternoon I was leaving the mall after making some returns (buying the wrong size at Victoria's Secret, talk about being stupid...) and a man and woman approached me with the seemingly innocent question, "Is there a mall around here?"

Dumbfounded reply, "Um, well, there's this one," pointing to the large structure about 100 feet away. "And then there's one in Amherst."

"No, I mean, like a plaza, with shops around a parking lot."

"Oh, you want the outlet mall in Niagara Falls."

"Is it in America?" [Believe it or not, this isn't the stupid part yet.]

"Yes, it's on the American side. Just take this highway here and you'll see signs for the exit."

"Okay, see, I remember being there once and I could see the ocean."

Yeah, okay, for clarity, there is absolutely no way to see the ocean from the Gap Outlet in Niagara Falls. We're nowhere near the ocean. A big lake or two, but no ocean. Big, big difference.

I mean, c'mon, I slept through Coach Gourd's geography class every single day of sophomore year and I know that. [Yeah, I know, stellar student that I am, but hey, I sat with the football team and when the football team slept, so did I. I was sleepy after band. At least I know that the ocean is far, far away. I also knew that if I whispered the right answer to Cory, Coach would stop bugging us with his attempt at teaching and let us go back to sleeping. Hey, I'm no dummy.]

"Well, sir, you may be able to see the Falls in Niagara Falls, but no ocean. And the Falls are quite a ways from the mall."

"Okay, well, are there black people there?"

"Yes, they're surfing the waves in the ocean."

Okay, even I couldn't be that sarcastic. Granted, Buffalo has its racial problems, but I felt like telling the poor fella that he'd likely have more problems at Calvin Klein due to his barely clad woman friend than his skin color.

So after assuring the man that segregation has in fact been defeated and he can shop at the strip mall by the ocean, I went along my way wondering if the whole thing was an illusion caused by impending heat stroke. Maybe I'll go for a swim tonight instead of the treadmill...

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