A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE – Lost in translation

Confessions of a closet avoirdupoisian and congratulations to local artist Heather Hollingsworth on her latest show.

I grew up in the United States – spent my first 12 years in a small town in Oregon that was less than half the size of Midway or Greenwood.

Just before I hit my teens, we moved to Long Beach California. Now that was culture shock!

I was suddenly living in a concrete jungle with millions of other people – many of them weird and all of them delusional (they were Californians after all and had an image to maintain).

I say they were delusional because even though everyone knew there was going to be a big earthquake somewhere down the road they kept right on with their lives as if this reality didn’t apply to them. They still do in fact, we all do.

To top it off they insisted on living in a part of the country that probably doesn’t have the ecological carrying capacity for more than a few hundred thousand people to begin with. After all, the only way to keep all the front lawns in Los Angeles green is to drain every drop out of the once mighty Colorado River before it reaches the ocean.

I went from a small town where to be cool you won a ribbon at the 4-H fair to Southern California where you needed a surfboard or, at minimum, one of those new angled things that had just come out – a skateboard.

The psychological stress of the move might not have been so great if I hadn’t felt so betrayed by my grade school teachers. They had taught me that the Pacific Ocean is on the left side of the map.

But Long Beach is located where the coastline takes a jag in towards the mountains, so it happens that the Pacific Ocean is on the bottom of the map right there.

I grew up thinking pounds and ounces too – what’s known as the avoirdupois system. I didn’t bump into the metric system until I got to Canada in 1970 and by the mid to late 70’s it was made the law of the land.

But I rebelled. I never really made the change. I must confess to being a closet avoirdupoisian and I still think in feet and Fahrenheit.

My problem is that a lot of the conversions just come out sounding so wrong. For instance if you use 2.54 centimetres to the inch, converting 35 inches comes out to 88.9 centimetres. But the newspaper rule book the boss gave me six years ago says I should just keep it simple – round it off to 89 or maybe even 90 centimetres.

So much for accuracy in my reporting eh?

And something definitely gets lost if you have to convert the phrase “the crowd inched forward” to “the crowd centimetred ahead”.

~ ~ The Arts Corner ~ ~

This Saturday artist Heather Hollingsworth will be at the opening reception of an exhibition featuring her past and current works from 1 – 3 p.m. at Gallery2 Art and Heritage Centre, 524 Central in Grand Forks (historic courthouse). Her show will hang for three weeks from June 21st to July 12th.

Her watercolour landscape and nature paintings can be seen at Kettle River Woodcraft in Rock Creek, Deadwood Junction in Greenwood and the Arts on 3 Gallery in Christina Lake. She has a Facebook presence too.

Heather has been an inspiring mentor to many elementary school students in West Boundary Elementary. All who love and appreciate art ought to find the time to make it into Grand Forks for her show and join the wider Boundary community in celebrating Heather’s success.


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