“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.”

Rain is coming later in the week, but for now I get to enjoy the sunshine and the coolness of a beautiful fall day. We did get out for a bit yesterday, but I ran into friends whom I haven’t seen in ages, and we chatted for a long while so I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped. Today Gracie and I will go down Cape; yesterday we went up Cape. For those of you wondering what directions I’m describing down-Cape means toward P-Town and up-Cape means toward the bridge. If anyone asked me east or west, I’d be hard pressed to answer.

When I visit Colorado, I ask how far to get somewhere, and they always answer in miles. Here when asked the same question we answer in time. How far to Boston from the cape elicits the response of about an hour and fifteen minutes, but it could be longer depending upon the traffic. In Colorado they’d tell me about 72 miles.

When I traveled in Ghana, the distance was measured in kilometers. I had no idea how far away anything really was. My mind worked only in miles so I always had to convert kilometers to miles. I learned to multiply by .6 so I’d figure out how far away I was from my destination.

Ghana, like Massachusetts, is also a time place. I had no idea the actual distance between Accra and Bolgatanga, but I know it takes 16 hours by bus. I know because that’s what the Ghanaians told me when I asked how far between Bolga and Accra. Later I looked it up and found it was 810 kilometers which didn’t make sense until I figured out it was 486 miles. It may seem like it takes forever by bus, and it does.

Once, when my parents and I were in Germany, my inner race car driver came out while I was driving on the autobahn. There I was driving at 80 MPH and getting passed. I knew this was my opportunity to be Mario Andretti without risking a ticket so I drove between 90 to 100 but I still got passed. My mother commented we seem to be going really fast and kept looking at the speedometer. I told her it was in kilometers, a bold face lie with good intentions, and explained how to convert and I mentioned that we were being passed by other cars going much faster. That seemed to calm her, and I got to be Mario for just a little while.

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18 Comments on ““Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Then day started chilly and grey and continued like that until work ended for the day. Then it was sunny and chilly. But the siΓΊn goes down so early now that I barley got the chance to enjoy it πŸ™‚

    I have never understood miles and it gets a bit tricky sine we also use miles πŸ™‚ Ten kilometers are one mile (we spell it mil though). I guess there’s a bigger chance for a snow fall in hell that that You americans will change to the metric system πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    I hate to drive that fast as they can on autobahn in Germany! 90 km/hour is what I like to drive in no matter what the speed limit is on the road πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

  2. katry Says:

    I was taught that 10 kilometers equals 6 miles as one kilometer equals .6 of a mile so you multiply 10 x .6 and get 6 as the number.

    At one time there was a bill to convert the US to the metric system but it didn’t get very far. I’d be hard pressed to learn it all now. I had a converter I used to use when I cooked from European cook books. Now I just use the computer to convert cooking amounts.

    Many of the roads have posted speed limits of 55 MPH which equals your 90 km/hour so you would be obeying the speed limit. I tend to go faster on the highway than that-closer to 70 miles per hour which is 112 kilometers.

    I was going bout but changed my mind. I have a lot to do tomorrow so that will be my day to ride and do errands. I posted a few pictures today-not many, just the farm I saw yesterday.

  3. sprite Says:

    I find the more beautiful the day the faster I drive. I don’t know why that is, but it may be a package deal with the car radio blasting and the windows rolled down.

    My British relatives were the first ones to point out to me the New Englander’s tendency to relay distance in time. My way of thinking is that it doesn’t really matter how far away something is; it only matters the time it’s going to take to get to it.

    • katry Says:

      I love driving fast. I admit it. Home from Boston is when I tend to drive the fastest. I just want to get home.

      I agree. It’s how long to get there I really want to know: like in Ghana, their telling me 810 kilometers had no impact but 16 hours certainly did.

      My brother-in-law from Colorado couldn’t believe it when we gave him directions. He wanted to know actual directions like go east for 40 miles then turn south for 6. We always just looked blankly at him. East?

  4. Hedley Says:

    As I lease cars, I tend to change cars quite often. My absolute favorite was a black STS V8. It wasnt just the speed it was the stealth and the acceleration. Of course it swallowed gas like it was $1.25 a gallon but that car motored.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I do love speed, and I have been lucky so far to fly under the radar. Having such speed in a car would be my undoing!

  5. Zoey & Me Says:

    It’s minutes here in Florida although most people will tell you it takes an hour to get anywhere. Florida is the worst laid out plan if, in fact, anyone had a plan. My road which is my address is Range Road changed from Wagon Wheel in the early 1900’s because everything was measured in a “range”. So from the major State Road down Wagon Wheel all the telephone polls were measured in one per range. Hence the change in name. Range Road then connected to Michigan Avenue all the way to US 1 to the east. Sadly, they still use it and when we built this house we had to place the underground natural gas line one range from my neighbor. The pipe looks stupid next to my entrance.

    • katry Says:

      I never heard of a range as any sort of measurement, and I totally understand the confusion regarding your road. Why is your pipe above ground near your entrance? I have all underground pipes and wiring and I don’t see any above ground.

      • Zoey & Me Says:

        It’s the biggest gas pipe I’ve seen and there are three in the neighborhood for those that paid for natural gas. It’s underground but the County requires an access marker so they put this two inch pipe in the ground right at the T for the gas line so if it needs a fix they can shut it down out there by popping the big pipe. It’s five feet high. It really does look rediculous on our side because our entrance to the property is a half moon of concrete and stucco with a brick finish . . . and then of course the stupid pipe on my side sticking up from the ground. Maybe one day I’ll make it a hat rack.

  6. J.M. Heinrichs Says:

    Colorado is 72 miles from Boston?


  7. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    As I age, I am more afraid of driving new places. Of course, I have no sense of direction..and once I am lost I’m not a happy camper. It is a lovely fall day here, and all I want to do is putter. I am angry that Oakland destroyed the Occupation. I want to be young and careless again..
    Waving Vroom,

    • katry Says:

      I never seem to mind going to new places as I have a great sense of direction. I actually like going where I have never been.

      It’s time to be old and careless. Think about it. Only the young and the old are forgiven their indiscretions.

  8. Bob Says:

    Today was another beautiful day here in North Texas. Last night the Rangers put together another two run win over the Cards. Only one more win in St. Louis and they will be World Champions for the first time. When the reporter asked Tony LaRussa about the hit and run play with big Albert at the plate, I think he should have used Yogi Berra’s answer from many years ago. “The guy made the wrong mistake.”

    I also have trouble with kilometers so I just don’t convert. When I drive in a country that uses them I just match the speed limit sign with the speed on my speedometer. I use a portable GPS to tell me how long it will take to get somewhere. Time doesn’t care about miles or kilometers.

    It’s always interesting how countries use different measurements. In the UK they drive in statue miles and miles per hour but drive on the wrong side of the street. They use Celsius for temperature and grams for weight. Luckily they passed on the Euro and still use the Pound Sterling.

    In Texas we think about how far it is based on pieces. If you ask a Texan, “How far is it to Waco” He might answer, “it’s down the road a piece.” If you inquire how far down the road he might answer, “Oh, it’s a fur piece.”

    • katry Says:

      I saw the game and held my breath a few times. That throw was right on the money. I got a chuckle when LaRussa grabbed his hat in dismay.

      With no GPS, I need to convert so I know how far away I have to go.

      I was sorry when the Euro became the currency of choice for so many countries. One of the fun parts was learning the money everywhere and then saving a few coins as souvenirs.

      I laughed at you pieces story! Glad your weather is getting beautiful. You deserve it.

  9. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I too love to drive fast but I have calmed down a fair bit with age. Also, Jeep Wranglers aren’t really all that comfortable when you push them for speed. πŸ™‚
    USA was supposed to convert over to the metric system by some date that I no longer remember but it didn’t take. The highway signs in New Hampshire got kilometers put on them but New Hampshire is a big vacation spot for Quebecois so it made sense. We all know what a 2 liter bottle of Coke looks like. Most of my friends can visualize how much yarn they have whether the measurement is in meters, yards, grams or ounces. A lot of us know how far 10K is especially when we run it. We have adapted a bit.
    Enjoy your day. πŸ™‚

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      You’re right about the bit of metrics which has crept into US measurements. I do know the 2 liter bottle but that’s about all I know except for the kilometers I mentioned. I immediately convert 10K into 6 miles in my head when I read the sign.

      It was a lazy day!

  10. katry Says:

    I’m betting you can figure out something creative as a cover for it. I know it has to give access to the pipe, but I think you ought to get that imagination going!

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