Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

290 miles up the Dempster Highway, Yukon Territory

Posted at 5:25 pm, October 5th, 2002

The following is a snippet of a conversation I had with an Inuit fellow who stopped his truck to chat with me this morning. In conversation the Inuit are different from any people I’ve ever met in that their conversations often move very slowly and deliberately. Having been brought up to fear the “awkward pause”, conversing in this manner can be quite an unusual experience.

Him: Hello.
Me: Morning! How’s it going?
Him: Oh, pretty good. (awkward pause) What are you doing?
Me: I’m just hanging out. Are you hunting?
(awkward pause)
Him: Yeah… (long awkward pause) Have you seen any animals?
Me: No, sorry, just a few ptarmigan.
Him: Oh… (long awkward pause) Are you hunting?
Me: No, no, just hanging out. Have you seen any caribou?
(awkward pause)
Him: No, have you?
…and so forth…

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