The US always seemed like the center of the world, but we are one of the few antiquated places still using the empirical system. I went for a jog the other day and ended up going roughly 11km or 5 miles. All I could think about is how long each kilometer felt. We grow up knowing metric measurements are smaller than empirical, but it still felt like it was taking ages. I usually go on the Waitangi-Haruru Falls walking track because it’s hilly, well maintained, and a measured 5k. Usually I see 20 or so others hiking along, but the woods have a way of pulling you in. After only a few solo minutes you feel like you could follow this path back in time to old New Zealand. It helps that there are some pretty views and a massive waterfall at the far end.
I’ve also had the pleasure of becoming addicted to Cadbury’s chocolate caramello bars. They come in 55g, 110g, and 220g sizes. Thinking I was being thrifty, I would buy the biggest bars and freeze them. They never lasted more than a day or two, even though I had tried to convince myself it was for the whole week. Luckily they don’t come in kilogram size.
Running became my retaliation against Cadbury’s. Thinking about the presidential fitness test we did in middle school, I decided to clock myself. I actually hate running, so I mostly power walk (arms and everything) and take an average of 9 minutes 35 seconds per kilometer. This speed leaves me happily satisfied with my workout 6-10km later. But as I approached the track today, I decided to run for it. One kilometer later I was unhappily breathless. 7 minutes 20. That is roughly the time I got running one mile ten years ago at age 13. That’s depressing.
While running will never be my athletic preference, it was still a nice work-out. Most people use simple measurements to observe the world around them, all based around the weight and volume of water. Perhaps kilometers would feel shorter if I had grown up on metric, and maybe someday we will switch over. But for now, I`m happy with the eccentricities of empirical and will be even happier to drive on the right-hand side of the road back in America.