Friday, January 18, 2008

A Mixed-up Mind

I'm enjoying some essays by E. B. White. But I tend to get him mixed up with C. P. Snow. Snow is white and both use two initials, all of which rhyme. Though their names are confused in my mind, their writing is quite distinct: E. B. White was a New Englander who wrote wry essays; C. P. Snow was from Old England and wrote painfully detailed novels about academic politics.

My sister has the same problem. The first time she flew from Ohio to California, she remarked how interesting it was to see the Smoky Mountains from the air. We had learned from Miss Bork, our fifth grade geography teacher, about the old, worn down mountains in the east and the young, rugged mountains in the west. They're easily recognized as different mountains; my sister just confused the names. But I understood perfectly. Pondering this, I realize the Rockys have snow, but the White Mountains are part of the same Appalachian chain as the Smokys.

Maybe it's something about all the words that end in the sound "ee". E. B. C. P. Rocky, Smoky. But in most words that end with the letter "e", the "e" actually remains silent, unless the ending is "ie". In that case, the word ends in the sound "ee", as do words ending in "y" and sometimes "i" (as in taxi). Now who's mixed up?

I have a hard time using the correct words for left and right. Although I know in my mind which is which and I can point correctly, I often apply the wrong name. This makes my husband crazy when he's driving and I'm giving directions. I actually have a very good sense of direction; north, east, south and west give me no trouble. Then there's "screen up" and "screen down" on my computer. When I tap "screen up", the display moves down. But for some reason, "page up" and
"page down" make perfect sense.

But there's hope. After being mystified for several years about the option in PhotoShop to flip an image horizontally or vertically, I now remember which does what. Most of the time.


Post a Comment

<< Home