22 June 2011

You Never Know When It Will Come In Handy!

"Why do we have to learn this?"

"You never know when you can use it."

I couldn't begin to count (I'm an English instructor, after all!) how many times I've had that conversation with a student. 

Truth be told, we learn lots of things we never use.  If I haven't used trigonometry or calculus by this point in my life, I doubt that I ever will.  Then again, I doubt that I know very much, if any, of it at all because whether or not I actually learned those things is certainly debatable.  I took classes in them, yes.  But I didn't do well, and I don't think I retained a whole lot of either of them.

Tonight, for my commute home, I used a skill that I learned as a Boy Scout(!) many, many years ago.  No, I didn't start a fire by rubbing two sticks together or weave a lanyard.  What I did was to forecast the weather.  Well, OK, I didn't predict the storm that came our way.  But I managed to avoid it.

One thing I learned during those hikes and camping trips is that most weather patterns--at least in the continental United States--move from west to east.  So, after my class, when I saw the sky darkening and heard that heavy rain and hail were falling in New Jersey, I knew enough to wait before riding home.

The ride from my class to my apartment--at least via the least-trafficked route, which I took today--is about twelve miles.  That includes a somewhat circuitous route through Kissena and Flushing Meadow Parks.  And, as it happens, the class is east-southeast of my apartment.

So I stayed for two hours after the class to read some papers and do a small piece of online research.  So, by the time I left the campus, the rain had already passed over the campus, as well as my Astoria neighborhood.  That meant I didn't have to ride in the rain (or hail!), although the streets ranged from slick to swampy, and there were large pools of murky water on the paths in the parks.  But I didn't care, as Marianela has fenders; the one on the front has a long mudflap.  

Who could have known that a skill I learned as a Boy Scout could help me to ride home in a skirt and blouse without getting doused!

Hmm...Might I actually use calculus or trigonometry one day?  Will I ever fix a tubular (sew-up) tire again?

No comments:

Post a Comment