I’ve decided, because of one thing and several others, including (admittedly adorable) play-fighting dogs, uncooperative soil and possibly a family of possums, that I should just extend my patio with pavers so that I will no longer have to look upon giant bare patches of dirt and act out The Grapes of Wrath on summer evenings. I’m not saying I don’t make a good Rose of Sharon, but I already have a giant shrub in my yard by that name and it’s beautiful. So, change the way you think about it, right? Right.
So you go and buy pavers and bricks and bags and bags of sand and your car sinks alarmingly under the weight of it all but you’re ok, you’re only two miles away and you’ll drive slowly and isn’t this SO FUN, it’s going to be AH-mazing. Until you realize that a) you have to now unload everything that the Home Depot guys loaded for you and b) you never really knew just how uneven your whole entire yard was. This whole time, you’ve been tilting East. Well I say that’s not a bad thing. Maybe we should all tilt a little more East. But anyway, pavers need to be level, at the very least because you don’t want your cocktail rolling away from you.
the digging, the leveling, the throwing up of hands, the stomping of
feet, the sitting on a pile of sand moodily staring at the wretched
ground that refuses to even itself out no matter how hard you try, the
tossing out of all rules, the gleeful stamping around, the pride in one
perfectly level row. At the rate I’m
going, I may be done by July.
But I do not lack encouragement. My very good friend offered up this: “If you lay one row of pavers, you get two glasses of juice. Since you laid 3 rows, you get X glasses of juice which is equal to Y bottles of wine. What is X and Y?”
Now, I don’t know why my very dear friend who purports to know me would ever pose such a question to me because, math. She knows very well I was in Math 101, Math for the non-math major, the kind of math that they HAVE to have for “people like me” who “use a calculator.” The kind of math they have in a classroom very close to the front door of the building so that hopefully no one of mathematical importance will see you enter or leave. The kind of math with a textbook called “Discrete Mathematics” as if to remind you to keep quiet about it. The math that causes one to lower one’s voice and looks over one’s shoulder when discussing the subject over drinks or in the hallway or ever.
I know this about math: there is the alphabet math, the shapes math and the story math. I don’t like any of them, but I sure like my friend’s word problem. This kind of math involves real life problems, like "How much wine do I need to lay a paver patio that measures 8x13 KNOWING that the measurement of 8x13 may not be correct, as it was measured with a glass of wine in one hand AND it is so uneven that a teeter totter would do neither, it would just fall over?"
Who cares about trains and wind speed and cars racing trains along dirt roads? That's not a real-life problem when you fly. When you fly, you don't have to do that story math. You look at the board that hangs from the sky and you find your city and you read the time. It's all very simple.
The solution to this word problem is also simple. I just bought a case of wine. If it’s not enough, then I’ll go back to the store. If it’s too much, then I need to talk to someone in science because I’ve flipped reality on its head and proved the impossible and frankly that is not a reality in which I want to live.