Wordplay at Large – Molassacre

Over the weekend we enjoyed a harbor cruise in Boston.  The narrator was full of trivia bits and anecdotes regarding the big city, and did a fine job mixing facts and entertainment as he spoke for nearly an hour and a half about the city’s landmarks and history.

When we approached the North End, he talked for a few minutes about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919.  I had a vague idea that a major molasses spill took place nearly a hundred years ago, but didn’t have details at my fingertips.  The idea of a 25-foot wave of molasses rushing down the street at 35 miles per hour is nightmare fodder, for sure.  Imagine, too, how sticky the whole area must have been in the aftermath of the wave.  I have enough fun scrubbing out measuring cups after I mix up cookie dough.  Multiply that residual stickiness by over two million gallons of molasses…

The thing that sticks in my mind, though, is the term the tour guide came up with to describe the day – ‘molassacre’.  Twenty-one people died, which is enough to qualify the event as a massacre.  I must admit I hadn’t considered how dangerous a baking ingredient could be.  I will treat the bottle of Crosby’s in my cupboard with more caution and respect in future.

Introverts Illustrated

For as long as I can remember I have been more comfortable in small groups than large groups, and far more comfortable listening with the audience than speaking from the spotlight. A few jobs ago I had the opportunity to attend a two-day training on Myers & Briggs personality types (http://www.myersbriggs.org/).  I filled out and mailed in my pre-training survey forms, and looked forward to picking up some tips on interacting with my family and my coworkers.

During one exercise the students were divided into two groups and told to plan our summer vacation.  In my group we came up with a list of individual activities; I was headed for the ocean, another fellow was going mountain climbing, one woman was flying off to Florida and another was planning to stay home and work on crafts.

We reconvened at the end of the exercise to compare notes with the other group.  They were headed off on a cruise together, with shore excursions, group dinners, dance contests and karaoke on the agenda.  Though these people had met for the first time that day, they were planning a group vacation with each minute planned, choreographed, and SHARED.

I don’t know who was more horrified – my group, faced with the idea of an entire week sharing every waking moment with strangers, or their group facing days of solitude.  I was impressed that such a simple exercise illustrated the difference between introverts and extroverts so very clearly.  Wow!

Pete and I are just finishing vacation, getting ready to return to work next week.  No, we didn’t take a Caribbean cruise with three thousand of our newest pals.  Instead we enjoyed some quiet time at camp – deep in the Maine woods, where over the course of our stay we saw one other person.  Perfect!  My sister Jan calls our camp an introvert’s paradise for a reason.

In Farley Bend, Emily is definitely an introvert – write what you know, and all that.  I am going to need to use my keen observation skills more as I focus on other characters in Volume II.  Farley Bend would be an awfully dull place to write about if everyone living there was an introvert.