or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Buzz

Today, I was talking with a co-worker in the frame shop about language and phonology and interdental fricatives (which as it happens I wrote about almost a year ago to the day) and such--isn't that what everyone talks about at work?--and she said, "Okay, Mister Etymology, tell me this: why is it called a beeline? I mean, have you ever seen how a bee flies?", mimicking with her hands the dizzy, bumbling flight that gives the bee its popular name.

"Not a clue," I said, and promised I'd look it up.

The beeline question unresolved, we continued talking about similar matters, and also the number of vertebrae in a giraffe's neck--seven, same as in a human neck--and the like. "God, we're such geeks", she said, laughing, and we sure are.

As for bees, I did look it up, and it turns out that they may wander all over the place when they're hunting for pollen, but apparently when they want to get home, they take the shortest, fastest possible route to the hive; the beeline. So simple.


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