24 November 2008


As much as I would like the title to be a clever pun referencing upcoming holidays and time spent with family, it is not. This post has to do with -- surprise! -- relativity.

(N.b. physicists should abandon this post immediately before they start cringing)

I first learned about relativity in elementary school. I used to sometimes go to a local college library and read books in the Children and Young Adult sections (since it was a small college library, these sections were actually two facing shelves). One day I picked up an illustrated book about Einstein's Theory of Relativity (actually, it was about special relativity, aka SR or STR) and sat engrossed for some time. The book illustrated, literally, the train example. It made sense.

At the other end of the spectrum is this wikipedia article, which is full of scary math. I define scary math as that which has abandoned all use of numbers. Oh, I can do it... but there's a reason I wasn't a math major in undergrad.

Even so -- even without using impressive multivariable whatsits and exhausting the greek alphabet -- I understand relativity.

Yesterday, I stayed home. I took care of the dogs, I did massive amounts of laundry, I prepped appetizers for Thursday (American Thanksgiving, which is the day on which we celebrate obesity and honor ourselves by ingesting improbable amounts of food, stressing our insulin production to the breaking point, and prepare ourselves for a winter of bitching about how we don't know how we gained ten pounds since October) and I cleaned the house. My family also has a tradition of Wednesday Night Dinner -- a large meal for immediate family the night before Thanksgiving -- so that means even more food preparation. Yesterday dragged on. I went from finished task to finished task -- and still, the clock seemed not to move. Around 9pm last night, I flopped down on the sofa to finished knitting the Simple Yet Effective Shawl. I did a tubular bind off, which felt remarkably like moving the sea one teaspoon at a time, and went to bed.

This morning, I woke up late. I did all my usual morning routine things -- but somehow, it seemed as though the clock had sped up. Time was outpacing me. Breakfast, shower, hair-drying -- the clock ticked by faster and faster. Each time I blinked the clock jumped forward five minutes. Even as I sit here at my desk, feeling as though I just woke up, it's already afternoon.

There are a few conclusions one can draw from my experiences of the past two days: One, I suppose time has to balance out from yesterday. Two, I don't have any pictures of knitted things to show you. Three, if you figure out a way that I can wash and re-block my Firmaments Shawl without it taking an entire afternoon to pin out, please let me know*.

*I will accept calculations IFF they lead to a successful and reproducible time-warp phenomenon.

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