The Equatorial Bet
Dreamed 2017/7/24 by Wayan
for the always-overlooked Maldiveans,
and in memory of Heather Heyer
I'm scratching my head over a geological world map, the colors marking rock types. So lurid it's hard to see what's land, what's sea. At last I pick out Earth's continents, under their rainbow camouflage. It matters--if I get the coastlines wrong, I could die.
See, my friend and I have been playing a game called Drop Me Anywhere. I choose the latitude, trying to survive, and my opponent chooses the longitude, trying to kill me. The rules: I get dropped naked--no tools, no resources--and must survive one day. If the spot we choose is water, I'm diverted a little, to the nearest land.
I think: "The meridians narrow at high latitudes, giving my opponent less choice--a longitudinal degree is just a few miles up there. At the equator, my opponent has 40,000 kilometers of options. On the other hand, drop me naked at either pole and I'd die in minutes. Drop me on any equatorial land at all, though, and I'd at least be warm and probably find water if not food--the tropics are mostly rainy." Consider various mid-latitudes, but in the end, the tropics seem best overall.
"The equator" I announce. "Your move!" What'll be my opponent's logical play, to give me the most grief? Dump me on a dry, uninhabited Galapagos islet? That's the driest equatorial land I can think of. The Andes near Chimborazo would be arid AND somewhat chilly, but the line crosses at only 3-4 km up, cool but not fatal. I could shiver for a day. Hmm. Maybe Kenya/Somalia? A dry coast full of tense, paranoid people and an active terrorist threat; I might get kidnapped or killed. That'd be my play, I think.
The teleportal's warming up. Here I go. What'll it be? Please, please be a geopolitical ignoramus! Overlook Somalia...
NOTE NEXT MORNING
Equatorial dangers: In the dream, I forgot one! I just read about the Maldives--an equatorial Eden south of India, famed for beaches & diving... and rigged elections, beatings and disappearances. The local elite wants total power.
Thank God we don't have rigged elections or political murders around here.
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