In Anthropology, an ethnography is the study of a particular culture from the perspective of that group. An intrepid anthropologist embeds herself in the group in order to fully live their daily experience. Generally, the study is the anthropologist’s idea. Other times, the guy the anthropologist lives with decides to go to China for 2.5 weeks and the anthropologist needs a place to crash. Such was the case with our visit from Dr. Doc, the involuntary ethnographer.
The thing about your own culture is that from within, the routines of daily life all seem quite normal.
It’s not until you introduce an outside observer that you notice “normal” is a very relative term.
Like a good scientist, Doc did his best to maintain his distance and stay objective. He fastidiously avoided Zero, even if it required some contortion to achieve.
Of course the locals – one in particular- were not quite so restrained.
But like many anthropologists, Doc eventually came to more fully participate in the culture he studied. Despite being ten times the age of the younger subject, Doc showed he can still hold his own.
It took a couple weeks, but Doc has definitely transformed from an uneasy documentarian to a full fledged member of the tribe.
That said, my brother returns home tomorrow and I have a feeling it may be the happiest Doc’s been to see him since the day he was rescued! Keeping up with these natives is no easy task and Doc has earned himself a long nap, uninterrupted by wandering puppy teeth. But there’s no doubt Dr. Doc has proven his mettle and will always have a space on our couch. Enjoy the rest Doc, you’ve earned it!