The thing about "please come see me everybody" radio broadcasts is that you can't leave, because you never know when they'll come. Fortunately the 4 hours it's taken me to transcribe a single 20 minute interview is keeping me busy.
Or sending me into the whims of Vertigo ;)
I managed to sneak away for an hour yesterday to visit the Inuujaq school, to teach the students about genetics and polar bear research. What I didn't expect was that the students (gr10-12) would teach me a heck of a lot more than I them. Two of the students had previously caught a polar bear--my 20+ years of schooling could never bring me even an arm's length (and I have really long arms) close to that sort of experience.
The interviews with hunters here (so far) have taught me even more. There are things about bears that you can't read in a paper/ article/ book, see on TV, or even study in a lab, however many hours you spend doing it. Even 1, 2, 3 weeks living in the high arctic won't cut it. The knowledge and experience that some community members have have taken a lifetime to accumulate; a couple of interviews and audiotapes--again--could never bring one even a (Super-Stretch Armstrong) arm's length close to becoming an expert.
In Neil Gaiman's 9th volume of The Sandman (The Kindly Ones), Rose Walker writes:
“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.”
Touché, Neil not-so-gay Man.