The Life Of A Triptime

Working with my author friend this morning I mentioned we needed to be more productive than normal as I would be leaving early. I said I would be heading for more Southern climes at noon he gave me a funny look. I told him that [REDACTED] (my village of residence) was closer to the equator than our current location (if only by about 10 km) but he wasn’t impressed. It was then I pointed out that it could be the task of generations of travelers to make the journey. If a common garden slug/snail wanted to make the journey it would take many, many generations (especially crossing the main highways along the way).

It is a matter of scale, both in time and distance. Depending on how long your measuring stick is and what a typical life expectancy extends to affects the vision of how long a journey is. A recent car commercial on TV announces their car gets an additional 2 miles per gallon in range, then states that may not sound like much until you have to walk those miles. By shifting the point of view from travel at 60 MPH to 3 MPH, the idea of a mile of distance goes from 60 seconds to a 1200 second marathon.

Fractal geometry was applied to the distance of a coastline, that the length of an irregular curve changes as you change the length of the measuring stick. Perhaps the same thing happens in life. How long our life takes depends on how large of a measuring device you use to describe it. In terms of fraction of a lifetime, a year changes from a substantial proportion to a negligible amount, a mere nibble of desert rather than a huge slice of the pie. So our four hour session would hardly be long enough for the coffee to grow cold to us while a member of the order of Ephemeroptera (a mayfly for example) would consider this the equivalent of obtaining a doctorate (starting from scratch, not just post-secondary studies).

I know I am vastly more aware of distances since my disability torched my long-distance running (er, walking) jaunts. Without my cane, a trip from the couch to the bathroom becomes an extended expedition where Sherpa guides would not only be useful, but nearly essential. A walk in the park is out of the question. Fortunately my Guardian scooter does 5.5 MPH for about 20 miles (between charges) so a ride in the park is practical. Technology is wonderful in its application. So when I depart for home at noon, my Ford Explorer will allow me to travel home in (relative) comfort in about 20 minutes (I have to pass through 8 traffic lights along the way, I will inevitably need to wait for at least 5 of them). Life is good.

Take away my tools and I can relate to the slugs in a very personal way…here comes another vehicle…


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