Math comes easy to me, although I’ve never understood people who say “math is hard” or “I’m no good at math”. For the most part, math is simply muscle memory. By that, I mean you need memory and a bit of exercise of that muscle between the ears.
I’m not talking calculus or even geometry. Basic math is pretty easy, if one gives it any effort at all. But there’s no doubt some brains are more comfortable with numbers than other things (names, for instance, in my case).
And it’s that ease with math that makes me old. Really. Okay, I’ll illustrate.
A couple of days ago I was driving back from a movie I had seen with a friend (“The Judge”, with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall – recommended). It was evening and there was little traffic as I turned down a four-lane road for the roughly one and a half miles until my turn-off.
Another car turned with me and, after several hundred feet behind me, jumped out into the other lane, accelerated and zoomed back in my lane. Three quarters of a mile later, my tortoise caught his hare at the sole (red) light on the road.
I have been driving the speed limit for a very long time and it is because of my math skills that I do so. It takes me little time (indeed, it’s somewhat of a game for me) to calculate the difference between doing the speed limit from point A to point B and doing, say, 10 miles per hour faster. Without driving you insane, I’ll just say you don’t have to be Archimedes to know that in just the mile and a half distance, that difference is measured in seconds. In fact, the only time speeding adds any real value is on a long trip. City driving almost never provides an advantage.
The benefits to me at speed limit (better fuel economy, no fear of tickets, no need for tailgating) far outweigh any “peer pressure” from driving too “slow”. But I have no doubt it causes others to shake their heads (or something more demonstrative) and sigh at the plodding old man driving on the roads.
And it’s all the fault of my math skills.