Friday, November 07, 2008

Measuring Confusion

Earlier this week my friend measured her head for me (i was knitting her a toque)(it's done now)(pics soon) and gave me the measurement in centimeters. I had no idea how big that was. I needed inches.

I'm Canadian! I'm supposed to know the metric system!!

The thing is that I use both. The reasons for which one I use for which situation are arbitrary and sometimes inexplicable. I don't think I'm the only Canadian who does this. We switched in the 70s and I'm sure I learned some of both in elementary school. Plus, I grew up on a farm where farmland, distances and weights are all in the Imperial system.

A short list of my confusion in measuring:

On the farm (or in my hometown area) I know distances in miles. I can sense it, plus the roads are laid out in a mile by mile grid. However, on the highway (even the highway to my hometown) I think in kilometers.

Measuring my knitting is in inches. Measuring my knitting needles is done in millimeters (with their US equivalent number).

Cooking is a mix: If I have to measure something out using a cup or spoon, I think in, well, cups or table/teaspoons. But if I have to use a prepackaged measure of something (soup cans etc) I think in metric.

Temperature for cooking is in Fahrenheit, however, temperature in regard to the weather is in metric. If i hear the temperature (outside) in Fahrenheit I can't do the mental calculation.

Weights for cooking (and also for knitting/spinning) are primarily in pounds but for some things I think in kilograms more (meat).

Weights for depressing myself and sobbing quietly by the bathroom scale are in pounds. Depressing depressing pounds. (thought: kilograms would look like a much smaller number... maybe I should switch that one?)

So, what does this all mean? It means I'm doing NaBloPoMo and no subject that makes me think for more than two seconds is off limit.

1 comment:

  1. I'm from the US, but I'm a scientist, so I use metric a lot. It is funny how you switch from one to the other depending on context, isn't it? I don't have quite your level of mixed units, but I do find it much easier to think of small things in terms of mm, which really confuses a lot of people.

    My security word is "oftedit." It's always funny when you get a real word (or two)...


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