Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Classification Fever

I am incapable of passing an unfamiliar tree, fruit, vegetable or animal without feeling a desperate need to identify it. Languages, too. Hearing people speak some strange tounge makes me go crazy. I want to know what it is, where they are from.

I keep a running mental tally of things I need to google. The latest searches have been prompted by the caimans that hang out in the canal down the street from my m-i-l's house (jacaré do papo amarelo), the medium-sized rodents I spotted in the bushes while on a run yesterday (pretty sure they are cotias), and the tree full of mango-like yellow fruits I saw while eating lunch in Santa Teresa this afternoon (cajás).

I remember frantically trying to identify the caterpillar that stung Rico a few years ago while cleaning vines out of the pitanga tree (tropical relative of the io moth caterpillar), not to mention the myriad snakes spotted along the roadside in Mozambique (forest cobra, puff adder, and what I'm nearly positive was a black mamba).

When I'm able to make a classification it gives me such great satisfaction. Like all is well in the world because I strung together the magic combination of key words to find the beast or fruit I so desired to identify on the internet.

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