You've probably seen all those studies that claim how ignorant Americans are - sometimes it's a study about the population in general; sometimes it's about students. The survey shows that an alarmingly high percentage of respondents were totally ignorant about basic facts of our country's history or the basic functions of government.
I always wonder who those people were. But yesterday I was talking to someone I've known for at least a year, and she surprised me.
We were catching up after a month of being out of touch. I explained that I'd been traveling, and that we went to London, England. My friend had been at a family gathering in Lake Tahoe. We both told little stories about our stay.
I told about the weather. During our London stay, the weather had been very unusual - lots of rain, one really hot day, some surprisingly cold days, and one day of really fierce thunderstorms. After a bit of back and forth, my friend asked, "So, in London, it's their winter now, right?"
My friend wasn't sure which hemisphere Britain was in.
My friend is in her mid thirties; she's smart, talented and has a good job. She hasn't been to college, but she certainly graduated from high school without trouble. Yet her grasp on basic geography - where is Britain located? - came as a shock to me.
What do you think? Is this common? Have you encountered similar examples of ignorance? And - playing the devil's advocate for a moment - does it really matter, if she has a good life in society?
*Update - misspelling fixed. Thanks Gary!