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Like kryptonite was for Superman, the metric system is my greatest weakness

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So, Mr. B and I are going on a vacation.  Sometime soon. Maybe we’re even on vacation as we speak.  But maybe we’re at our house and if you try to rob it I’ll karate-kick you. Surprise!

We are or will be, or were in Europe. You guys know by now that I am a connoisseur of culture and love everything international I’ve done everything from Indian Classical Dance to the Saudi Arabian embassy to the Cochin Jews to West Philly. I got like 5 shots in preparation to go to India, and I have eaten squid. I also admire  Science.

But.

I have realized I am a very proud ignorant American.

Why?

Because this makes absolutely no sense to me:

I physically cannot convert metric to American in my mind.  Thanks to the American school system, I’ve encountered my own personal Waterloo.

I keep imagining these scenarios where Mr. B is taken hostage and to rescue him I have to be able to understand Metric details.  So some Eurotrash guy with a Liam  Neeson accent will call me and will be like, “We have your husband, V.  You can give us the ransom money. Meet us on a day outside of Bruges when the temperature is 10 degrees Celsius, 500 meters away from the train station.  Oh, and you’re not allowed to use Google.” And they’ll hang up.

Let’s see, minus10 degrees Celsius.  If you take the 7, divide by two, multiply by 45, OHMYGOD. There is no way I, as an American (let’s conveniently ignore the fact that I’m not technically one), can be expected to understand this system.  Bye, Mr. B.  So sorry. So stupid.

The American measurement system represents freedom.  It represents apple pie.  It represents 2-ply toilet paper.  It represents a country that pisses off the rest of the free world and doesn’t care about any consequences.  This is the America I know and love.

It represents that moment when Mr. B and I landed on a late flight from Israel and, starving, we walked into a Wendy’s.  It was the most disgusting Wendy’s of my life.  The greasiest fries.  The palest chicken nuggets.  But as we were greedily scarfing down the liquid pools of fat and dousing them in honey mustard, I kid you not, the Star-Spangled Banner started playing right there in that Wendy’s at 12 o’clock in the morning, I cried. Because, God Bless America. God Bless Wendy’s. And God Bless whoever thought up measurement independence from Europe.

I am a proud member of a nation of 300 million standard morons.  (130.5 million morons metric)

 

P.S. Friday Links 

1.  Evernote: if you don’t already have it, you should.  (Can you spot the Jews and the Russians in the story?)

2.  Culture Beat jamz

 

3.  The Slavic section in the New York Public Library

4.  Don’t have sex with William Faulkner (100% SFW)

8 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I keep it straight only as follows:
    about 21 degrees C is a comfortable classroom temperature. and 0 is freezing. According to my system, the week’s forecast looks sort of cold, but not unbearable. Sweater and hat weather. Or, if you’re from Vermont, summer.

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  2. I don’t understand. It just  makes so much more sense to measure temperature on the regular numeric scale. I mean zero is when stuff starts to freeze. Anything below zero is pretty cold, anything above is warmer. +30 is really warm. I just feel like Mr. Fahrenheit picked a random number and was like, okay so this… this is how we are going to measure things from now on. It’s just so… complicated. 

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  3. Gah! Cold!!  That’s about where we are in Toronto right now.  Bring gloves.  I feel your pain – I moved up to Toronto a few months ago and have been living between those two worlds ever since.  I’m constantly translating between english and metric – and not just for temperature.  Distance, weight… cooking is a challenge when I’m used to ounces and not mL.  I’m fluent now in both languages for distance and temperature, but I’m still challenged by weight.  I’ll let you know how many more months it takes me to understand that….

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    • Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Are you Canadian now, or just working in Canada?  I know they have pretty strict immigration laws from what I understand. 

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      • I’ve always had dual citizenship, I lived here until I was 7.  And just a heads up that if you need 6 oz of bleu cheese for biscuits you need 171 grams.

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  4. I understand how you feel. Whenever I face this kind of complexity, I choose the easiest way by not pushing my brain to learn them.

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