Friday, February 16, 2007

Calculus for the Rest of Us

There’s nothing like sitting down in one of these narrow bus seats, clad in your four layers plus two-layer coat, hat and gloves, carrying your briefcase and coffee – next to someone else done up the same way – to remind you what it was like when you were fat.

Q1: Assuming two people with more or less decent posture, seated side by side and dressed for spring, would have roughly parallel spines, what is the degree of spinal declination during the height of winter on a bus crossing the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge at quarter to seven on a Friday if the temperature is eighteen and the bus is traveling 30 miles per hour to make the 7:07 train?

Q2: For what time should you set your alarm if you decided to go to bed on Thursday instead of changing the cat box and taking out the garbage, knowing that Friday was garbage day but figuring that you’d easily beat the garbage guys out there except they had the truck in stealth mode and came at 3am so that when you crept down in the dark and collected the garbage helpfully bagged by your wife the night before and cleaned the cat box and trudged through the snow to add your bags to the neighbors’ cans you found them empty?

Q3: If DDT was outlawed in 1972 and you catch the 7:07 out of Beacon heading south at 60 miles per hour on a winter Friday in 2007, how many bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) will you see from the train window as you pass by salt marshes and fresh-water outlets at the mouths of small tributaries?

Q4: How freaking cool does Hook Mountain look from the east shore of the river when the sun hits the snow detailing its sheer stone face?

A1: Eleven degrees. A2: Usual time. A3: Four in the last couple weeks, or maybe the same pair in two different places. A4: Muy.


wcs said...

I actually got two right - that is, if you count "very" as the equivalent of "muy." That first one was tough. I think I need a new calculator...

Bill Braine said...

I admit, the one about the garbage was a gimmie: you never, ever get up early for the garbage. But that's impressive on the eagles.

wcs said...

Oh, it wasn't the eagles. That was too tough. It was garbage and "muy."