Sunday, May 28, 2006

Papua New Guinea

It has recently come to my attention that everyone I know knows everyone else I know. Thanks to an ever-consolidating circle of Stuyvesant alums and our NYC-based college friends, it appears that everyone is or was dating the friend of someone I had this or that interaction with in 10th grade, or my second year of college, or last week. And vice versa. And so on.

While this is a wonderful, intelligent, sophisticated group of 22-24-year-olds, it is also disturbingly incestuous. Or, at the very least, disturbingly provincial. I never thought of myself as coming from a small town, but apparently I did. It is inhabited by a disproportionate number of people who do well on standardized tests, but it is also one in which you can say the name of a social studies teacher at a party and half the heads in the room begin nodding and reminiscing.

Every time I hear of (or find myself in) another such connection, I'm half thrilled at what a neat group of people I'm surrounded by, and half ready to go somewhere where no one would be just a link away from every embarrassing thing that ever happened to me, ever. For some reason, I always assume this place would be Papua New Guinea.

The Papua New Guinea urge is different from the Israeli-army urge (one based on various considerations, but which will nevertheless be postponed for various reasons), or the weekend-away urge. Papua New Guinea would be all about... I have no idea, as I know nothing about the place, but I am almost certain I would never, ever, hear a thing that would all of a sudden summon the memory of a bad grade, an unrequited crush, or that time I forgot I'd worn mascara, had a snowball fight during lunch, and returned to English class to a some highly amused--or was it concerned?--classmates. From the CIA handbook: "Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region note: 715 indigenous languages - many unrelated." Fantastic. Sign me up.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A white american girl would spend most of her time in PNG trying to avoid being attacked. The crime rate there makes Camden look like the East Side.

Seth said...

look at this post, i think you will appreciate it. or maybe not... i mean you do come across as a fanatical zionist with a French accent.

http://noorster.typepad.com/shutterfool/2006/05/this_is_why_i_t.html

Anonymous said...

Being a white american girl living in PNG, I have to say most of the PNG crime you hear about is from either the capital city, some parts of the highlands or simply from rumors. No bombs here. Just coconuts and orchids. You'd love it here Phoebe.