Three packages were being tracked for delivery. Ping. Amazon tracking says one is in the mailbox and two are at the front door. I check the door. Nothing there.
I'm hoping all three are in the mailbox but I learned it's best to be pessimistic. If not, I'll have to go looking. Where would I start? My floor.
Within the short distance to the elevator I notice two packages in front of a neighbor's door. A black woman who knows me. We speak to each other. I hear her speaking behind her door. The packages are mine, and just bending down to read the labels makes me feel weird as if I'm snooping around someone else's bizwax. Do I knock on the door and tell her I'm taking my packages? Why?
Just take them. Leave her alone. There's no point in making her answer her door just to talk to me and bring this to her attention, from her point of view, for nothing.
Then I visualize her picking them up before I see them and opening them before reading the label and being confused and disappointed with wakame and bonito. I'm certain she'd have no idea what to do with them. I'm not certain she'd bring them to me.
Culture clash, right there. A black American presented with ordinary Japanese ingredients and nothing useful can happen. Not even imagined. And no point in discovering what these things are. It's likely she'd trash them, rather than admit she opened my packages. Because no one would know.
Oh man, I just now had a serious déjà vu thing happen like an intrusion from an alternate reality where she does return them and gets angry at me imagining otherwise in this reality.
Speaking of different cultures. Now I'd like to show something else. Change of subject.
This came through a group email today. Students studying Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs are presented with S placed in front of a word.
We put an S after a word to pluralize things and with an apostrophe to show possession. Egyptians wrote an S in front of a word to indicate causation. The word group caused something.
The emailer find this a charming example. He writes to the group: Note that Faulkner writes "caus." after the hieroglyphs and transliteration. He's pointing out that it's an S-causitive verb.
Me now: Ankh means life, as you know, a thing, and now it's a verb, and not only that, it's a verb now that causes something. I like this for its handwriting. I like seeing people's handwriting in hieroglyphics, as I like seeing people's handwriting in sign language. It's fascinating. And it's cute.
Faulkner is so smart. He sees that S-ankh means "revive dead" or "nourish, feed" or "perpetuate a name." And S-ankh-seated man means "sculptor." That's terribly intuitive. I'm impressed.