August 16th, 2012

TNG Darmok

"So you think we're smelling dust from India?"

My job on Tuesday and Wednesday was to unpack a tractor-trailer container full of ginger, and the boxes had "Country of origin: India" labels on them. I don't know the whole supply chain, so for all I know, those boxes got loaded in that container at a port in India. So I idly wondered to the oher guy helping me unload yesterday "So you think we're smelling dust from India?"

Dust from India. Gave me a small-world moment then. The closest I've been, physically, to another country was standing on San Juan Island across the water from Vancouver Island, Canada; the farthest I've been out of the United States is somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, in international waters but nowhere near any other land. (And come to think of it, how far was I from the ocean floor? I MAY BE OVERTHINKING THIS.) I've been closer through communication; that's really it. I've been on phone calls with coworkers in Bangalore, back at my hospital transcription job that I had from 2004 to 2008. Plenty of emails with them, too. Communication's important, of course, so we know what people Not Us are thinking and so we can respond thoughtfully, but a physical connection: that hasn't happened as often with me.

Maybe it happened the past two days in a dusty warehouse where I was getting sweaty and dust-covered so that, eventually, Starbucks customers can enjoy the tang of ginger. I like that. I like small-world moments.