Know Your Capitals
by Bill Hayes
In Know your capitals in the Los Angeles Times, Mark Krikorian tells the value of knowing one’s geography.
When I get into a taxi, I almost always ask the cabbie, “Where you from?” In Los Angeles that can be a dangerous gang challenge, but because in my experience cabbies are never from Los Angeles, it hasn’t been a problem. What I hear back is Liberia, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus and so on. And then I say, depending on whatever home country they named, “Are you from Monrovia?” or Yerevan or Dhaka or Minsk? Invariably, the cab drivers are delighted, even proud, that a stranger, an American, knows their capital.
I bring this up because knowing your capitals is a good thing. It brings people together, and it can help you out in ways unexpected, which is what happened to me on a recent trip to New York. [more]