Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everybody Loves The World

When I was a child a globe was one of those round things with coloured bits on it. I'd occasionally glance at one and show a spot of passing interest in the way the whole of South America would fit in the west side of Africa. If only we could slide it to the right for a couple of inches Nigeria and Brazil would become one and South Africa would join forces with Argentina.

That was about it though. I was never one of those fellows who looked at globes or maps with any more than a disinterested kid's level of interest. This may explain why I went on to play the drums and try to run a company whereas Academic Bro, my academic bro, went on the study geography or calligraphy or whatever he does. As a child he was always highly interested in globes, maps and pens.

Now, as an adult, I'm one of the many who "love" globes. It's not that I've got a collection of the things or subscribe to "Globe Collectors Monthly" but I just find them fascinating and eye catching. Not only that but I keep bumping into other people who feel the same way.

At Christmas I bought a small globe for Music biz bro. A little hand held one, no mounting or stand, just a ball really with countries and oceans painted on it, about two or three inches in diameter. When he opened it he said

"Oh great I love globes" and he meant it. It's not as if a globe does anything either. You can't use it to drink from or to throw in a chicken curry to make it taste better. A freestanding one would be no use as a paperweight. It would just roll off and all your papers would go flying everywhere. Then you'd have to crawl around and find the missing sheafs as well as find the globe, which will be rolling around the floor in a random way.

The chances are that the country that would have got dented, when the globe hit the floor, would be a good one like Sri Lanka or Denmark. It's never a big lumbering country that gets dented, one that no one would be bothered about if it changed shape a bit, like Australia or the US. That's why people use rocks, lenses and things ot hold down paper. You heard it here first.

A couple of days ago I received a slightly bulky looking package in the post. I opened it and found that it was a mailing from a company, complete with a globe. It's a smallish one, about four inches in diameter, but it immediately took pole position on my desk, just pole position, not North or South. Not that there's much competition. There's the remote control for the office stereo, one of those tools that looks like a pair of pliers but has a million types of screwdriver built into it and an old fully wrapped Cadbury's Flake bar that I haven't eaten yet and is probably way passed its eat by date.

This globe is rather cool because it spins on both axes. It small and mounted and you can spin it the conventional way, through its y axis, but also the other way, around the equator. In case I've done a poor job of explaining I'll put it another way; if you put your thumb on the South Pole and your middle finger on the North Pole there are two ways to spin it. You can either twist your hand up and down or turn it to the right or left. Got it?

It's such a great little thing. I've been staring at it for hours and learning where countries are. For example I never knew the name of that little teardrop shaped island just underneath India. It looks nice, though access to porn looks limited.

There's also no land at the North Pole. Did you know that? I didn't. I knew that Antarctica was that bit at the bottom, that it covered the South Pole but I assumed there was the same sort of thing going on at the top. But there isn't, it's just sea there or desert or chocolate biscuit pudding or something.

The three dimensional aspect of a globe compared to a map on paper is what makes it so intriguing for sure. Looking at the relative positions of countries and places and discovering things I didn't know is always interesting. I've been contemplating doing something adventurous. At first I thought I'd spin the thing with my eyes closed and travel next to the country my finger stops the spinning with. A few attempts of that and I decided to play another game but, if anyone wants to join me in Tajikstan next year, then please get in touch.

The most surprising thing is that about five or six people in my office have asked about and been captivated by it. One person even asked me if they could have it if I didn't want it. It's made me realise, even though kids aren't fussed about a round spinning thing with a map drawn on it, us adults are all totally drawn in by the concept.

How about you?

Can you resist a globe?


Anonymous said...

i think whats more exciting than having a four inch spinning globe on your desk.. is to actually wonder at the miracle that is the world.. buy a ticket... and fly wherever you fancy.

if you do that.. then tajikstan or wherever.i will come along for the ride. (as i am sure will many women.. and dinidu)

Anonymous said...

I love globes! in fact my Dad gave me a ancient jade globe (5cm Dia) when I add Dr. (5cm Dia) which sits on my desk at home.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Wow, that's the nicest thing anyone's said to me in a long time. I may have rather a lot of baggage though!

Scrumpulicious said...

Globes/Maps/geography in general rocks! I love spinning a globe and stopping it randomly with my finger! That's how I'm going to plan my next holiday destination actually.... Unless it's somewhere I really don't want to go! :)