Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unlikely Acquaintances

Today, while sitting on my desk, I watched a stink bug crawl towards a daddy long legs.  Neither bug knew quite to make of each other.  Daddy moved a few legs aside while the stink bug tried to carefully navigate his way around on the narrow wall they shared.  Looking at them I sat back and marveled.

I know that everyone hates stink bugs, these invasive bugs from Asia that don't have natural predators and so have quite taken over all of Virginia.  However, if it wasn't for that introduction, these two little bugs would never have met and I never would have had the opportunity of witnessing their awkwardly polite encounter.

When I was an undergraduate, among other jobs, I cleaned the library.  I actually got the job of cleaning offices in the library which I thoroughly enjoyed.  We had specific rules regarding offices that I strictly followed such as not touching ANYTHING on a desk or even looking at papers on the desk.  We also weren't allowed to throw anything away (even if it looked like trash and the office occupier just had bad aim for the wastebasket). As a result, when I entered offices to dust non-desk surfaces, wipe down office windows, empty trash bins and vacuuming, I spent a lot of that time looking at the walls.

One of the offices down on the first floor, in the history section of the library, had a large world map on the wall.  One day I paused in my vacuuming and looked up at that map.   And then I turned off the vacuum and looked at it even closer.  I guess I came from a small town with old non-updated maps because it was the first time I had ever seen a map with so many countries where the USSR had once been.  I remember thinking, "Look at all these new ...stan countries!"  I'm sure I'd heard of them over the years but I hadn't realized there were so many.
January 2002 was probably about the same time that I first found this in that office

Ok, laugh all you want at my ignorance.  I should have heard of those countries since it had been a full decade since those countries had first emerged before this definitive knowledge of their existence.  However, we already know that I didn't have a great world history education in my formative years.

Today, I went to my English class and met a man who hails from Kazakhstan.  I left class, marveling.  Not only is this man from a country I had only heard of from a map on the first floor of HBLL at BYU, he and I work on similar research that I can actually understand.  It's incredible.  It's a miracle.

And as unlikely a pair as a daddy long legs and a stink bug.  Isn't life amazing?

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