Sunday, December 24, 2006

So, what ARE they talking about?

The honest answer to this question is B. I was standing on the half deck at the time, slightly behind and above the subjects, so I have no idea what they were really talking about. I can assume, from prior experience, that A is the most likely choice, given those are the three most popular questions to pose to interpreters of all kinds. The fourth most common question has to do with a piece of equiptment called the capstan. The reason that inquiries about the capstan are so memorable has to do with the "guesses" visitors come up with to explain it.

The capstan, to clear up any confusion, is a large, black, round piece of wood that is right behind the main mast extending from the main deck down through the orlap deck, the deck below. It has metal fittings around it and two square holes bored through the diameter of it on opposite sides. Yes, it does look odd. If we're interpreting on the main deck, we answer "what is that? (point at capstan)" most often. However, we have also had some folks "interpret" what it is for us. These interpretations include anything from "it steers the ship" (at least that somewhat makes sense) to it grinds corn (yes, that was certainly feasible on a moving ship), it is a furnace (a one-time-only-use furnace apparently given it is made of wood) and finally, that it "holds the telescope" somehow.

I very much enjoyed comments made by Captain Picard--always an honor, sir, when you come by, and the Mr. Anonymous who posted this time, whether or not he/she may be the same one who visited before.


klank said...

I picked C ;)

MaureenE said...

Oh silly peoples who do not know what a capstan is. They should have to take a nautical history course.

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