I hate that uninformed, left out feeling that comes with learning something that everyone in the universe already knows…except me. Like the time in seventh grade when I worked up the courage to say hi to “cute Chad” only to find out he’d been going steady with “fried hair Tara” for two whole weeks.
“How could you not know? It’s like written in permanent marker in every bathroom stall,” my friend Jennifer pointed out impatiently.
27 Years Later (to be read in a French accent, like the narrator on Spongebob)
It happened again today while my friend Denise and I chatted about our kids’ new school year over coffee and leather pastries at Panera.
“Oh, ya know….They’re going over the names of continents and the five oceans, so far just reviewing from last year” Denise said as I tried unsuccessfully to cut into my cheese danish.
“Ya mean four oceans,” I corrected, trying to seem nonchalant as the table vibrated back and fourth with my determined knife strokes.
“There’s the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. That makes five now. Vanessa learned about it last year. It was new to me too,” my friend countered.
I’d always considered Denise to be an honest person with no underhanded motives to misrepresent the Earth’s bodies of water. Could it possibly be true that the addition of something as large as an ocean had slipped right past me?
I was completely taken aback. Like that feeling you get upon learning that Diet Pepsi really makes you fatter than regular Pepsi. Or that Hello Kitty isn’t actually a cat.
As my fingers began ripping apart the rebellious pastry, I regretted not having the foresight to pack a globe in my purse…specifically for emergencies like these.
If It had been any other subject…algebra, astronomy, politics, I wouldn’t have cared. But geography, that’s my area of expertise. I haven’t missed a geography question on Jeopardy…like….EVER.
Maybe it was done in secret and covertly slipped right past the general public. Perhaps the Global Board of Waterways called a last minute work session. And they clandestinely voted to annex the Southern Ocean in spite of local outcry that four oceans were plenty and all that had been budgeted for. I’ve heard that sort of thing happens from time to time.
Or what if it was a secession like Scotland is attempting right now? The southern parts of each ocean felt that their aquatic citizens didn’t receive equal representation among sea life. So they pulled away and merged together in search of liberty and equal rights. Funny, you’d think that an oceanic civil war would’ve made headlines. When poor Pluto lost its planethood, CNN dedicated weeks worth of coverage.
Maybe it’s a money making scheme among textbook, map and globe manufacturers, requiring us to buy all new ones now that ours are obsolete. Resorting to the creation of a new ocean just to make a buck reeks of desperation…and creativity.
Five hours later…
ME: “you knew about this?”
ANDREW: “uh yeah.”
ME: “what else are you not telling me? Don’t answer that.”
A consultation with my friend Google confirmed that the Southern Ocean, aka the Great Southern Ocean, aka the Antarctic Ocean, has existed for nearly 15 years now. And everyone else in the universe is fine with it…except me…and maybe Pluto. (How can you trust an ocean that has at least two aliases?)
Where the heck have I been? Did YOU know about this Southern Ocean? Be honest.