My office is very spare looking, so to give it some more color I bought a cheap Indian-style dhurrie rug at the local department store. Now, whenever students come into my office they very carefully walk all the way around the perimeter of the rug so as to avoid stepping on it. Puzzled by this behavior I asked a few of my students about it. Two of them said that they thought I used the rug for sleeping!

My mom is an expert on Afghan textiles and I grew up in a home filled wall-to-wall with beautiful rugs, so it never occurred to me that rugs would cause so much trouble. But, when I think about it, I can’t recall ever seeing a rug in a Taiwanese home. I suppose in this hot, wet, climate rugs and carpets don’t make a hell of a lot of sense. Still, I like my new office rug and don’t want to get rid of it. Perhaps I’ll move it under my chair or table so that its purpose is less obscure to my students.

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