degrees of bilingual

I blame the seventies for any sense of inherent confusion I might possess. I was a teenager for much of that decade—a confusing enough time of life, but on top of that, and other mind-altering details floating freely about in those groovy days, it was when Canada went metric.

Here’s the question though: did we actually go metric… or did we more sort of ooze into it?  Either way, the point is this: by the time the eighties rolled around I was a functioning dysfunctional bilingual.

And in large part I remain so.

What I mean is that I’m not completely comfortable in all areas of metric, nor am I comfortable in all areas of whatever the other way is called. The miles and inches way.

For instance. I am five feet, seven inches tall. If you asked my weight I would tell you in pounds. [maybe…]

Area is measured in square feet. But fabric, in metres. The height of a tree or a building is metres also. Yet I have a ruler and a yard stick.

I know what the air feels like in Fahrenheit from about 60 degrees up. Below 60, I wouldn’t be sure what to wear. I’d need to know what it is in Centigrade.

I register all AIR temperature in Centigrade. But water temps only make sense to me in Fahrenheit.

With respect to distance, I can wrap my mind around a mile if pressed [it’s less than a kilometre, right? or more??], but, truthfully, I prefer the metric version. Even so, I say things like: we walked for miles; it may as well be a million miles away; you can see for miles…

Speed, also, must be in metric. I don’t know how fast 75 mph is except that a cab in St. Louis did it once and it wasn’t good.

A kilo has no weight at all. And ovens are in Fahrenheit for good reason.

I can process one litre easier than 1000 thingies but please don’t ask me to pour you anything in millilitres and if you refer to a gram I will ask Which one? Your mum’s side or your dad’s?


If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to measure it, is it still bigger than a breadbox?

If you remember the metric conversion era, you will remember breadboxes.

But I digress.

I blame the seventies.