Academic journal article et Cetera

Robbie and the RGE

Academic journal article et Cetera

Robbie and the RGE

Article excerpt

A FRIEND OCCASIONALLY would tell me about her son, "Robbie." Then one time I saw the child's name in print. It was Ravi. After that when she talked about her son she called him Ravi, not Robbie.

Of course, she had always called him Ravi, so why had I been hearing Robbie? Well, to put it anthropomorphically (to use a big word I don't get a chance to use very often): The little man stationed at my ear called in to headquarters to report, "She says the kid's name is 'rah-vee.' It must be Ravi." The little man handling incoming traffic responded, "Don't be ridiculous] Ravi is a guy in India who plays an oversize guitar; there's no American kid named Ravi." One of his associates chimed in with, "I did a quick check of the files. The closest we've got to 'rah-vee' is Robbie." So Robbie it was.

Here's another example. I'm in the city of Rochester in upstate New York, and I ask a man on the street how to get to a particular location. He points to a tall building several blocks away and says, "See that big building with RGE on the side? Go to that, and you'll be where you want." I thanked him and headed for the big building, although I had the passing thought of "Why did he say 'RGE' when the initials on the building are PGE?" Then when I got to the building, up close, I could see it was RGE. It presumably stood for Rochester Gas and Electric. My problem was I come from a place served by Pacific Gas and Electric, known as PGE.

We never really see/hear/perceive/take in what's happening Out There. …

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