Thursday, September 22, 2005

Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Back when I was a graduate student in EE, I think I could have made sense of this explanation, but now it just looks like, well, like one of my favorite quotes from Rocky III:

Interviewer: What's your prediction for the fight?
Clubber Lang: My prediction?
Interviewer: Yes, your prediction.
Clubber Lang: (short pause, stare into camera for effect, use low guttural voice) ... Pain!

Anyway, since I started running, I've adopted a whole different perspective of time and distance, mostly distance. Things that seemed to look far away are not as far anymore, even though they probably still are (everything's relative of course).

Especially when I travel, I'm amazed to look out my hotel window after coming back from a run, to see how far I've made it on foot and back, something I could never have dreamed of doing before.

I dug up this old vacation picture from a couple of summers ago in Nassau. It's taken from our hotel window at the British Colonial Hilton looking east down Bay Street, the main shopping drag. The glitzy Atlantis Hotel and Casino on Paradise Island is marked, and that's a 24 story building!

The thing is, maybe I'm just bad with judging distances, but I could never have told you how far away that building is. Hell, even now I probably can't do it, except that I ran there and back. Ran down Bay Street, past the Straw Market, past the duty free shops, past mostly abandoned lots and light industrial factories further out, slight curve to the right, then hop onto the bridge you can just make out in the picture, feel like a million bucks at the top of the bridge, soak in the sunshine and stiff island breeze, cross the harbor onto Paradise Island, gawk at luxury yachts tied up at dock, and uphill a couple hundred feet into the main lobby of the Atlantis Hotel. Even now I can play out the run in my mind. Total distance: less than 5 miles round trip, and worth every step.

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