Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Two days ago I was going to make "extreme" nachos (homeade salsa, nachos with bell pepper, zuchinni, cilantro, ground beef, tomatoes, a minute amount of onions, and lots of cheese) and watch a movie ("Get Smart" to be exact). I went to Baywood Foods which is the closest grocery store and is right next to First Choice where we rent movies. The grocery store did not have cilantro (which I consider the most important element in extreme nachos) and the movie store did not have "Get Smart." I called Bobby to let him know that I was going to have to go to Wal-mart. This was our conversation:

Emily: I am going to be a little later because Baywood didn't have cilantro and First Choice didn't have "Get Smart."

Bobby: That's a bummer

E: I guess I will have to go to Wal-mart (sigh). Do you know of any grocery stores that are closer?

B: John Hitchens said that Big Chief has the best and cheapest produce

E: But Wal-mart is closer than Big Chief. Big Chief is 5 miles away.

B: But I thought you said Wal-mart was 6 miles away.

E: No, I said Wal-mart was 3.5 to 4 miles away.

I recorded this conversation merely to open for the rest of the story of my weird habit/talent. My weird habit is calculating the number of miles to various frequented locations. Also calculating the average number of minutes it takes to drive or walk or run somewhere. I also calculate landmarks along the way so that I know how good my time is, etc. For example, I knew that to get back and forth from Wal-mart to where I was would take about 8.25 minutes or so. I could go through all the reasons why, but I won't.

My talent is calculating how long it will take to get somewhere. When I go to work I know that it takes me 6 minutes driving, 1-2 minutes in the parking lot, and less than 1 minute to walk through the mall to Mastercuts. Therefore, I leave 10-15 minutes before I need to be at work. I have never bought a stopwatch because that would drive me crazy. I would be timing to the second.

I honed this ability playing a game with my brother on our way to church. Houston Church was quite a distance from our house (19 miles) and so Joseph and I would play a game trying to see who could guess the most accurately what time we would arrive at church. I knew that the average was about 22 minutes when the church was on Woodridge and 27 minutes when it moved to Eldridge. So, I would guess based on landmarks (like whether we were on the freeway or not or whether we had passed a certain exit or not). I usually won. I knew how many exits there were and that they were about a mile apart each which meant about 1 minute per exit. So, that usually helped. If there was traffic, I timed how long it took on average for certain flows of traffic and used that in my guessing the next time. I know for a fact that if you are going at least 20 miles an hour on the freeway you should not get off. It isn't faster.

Somehow I calculate when we will arrive somewhere pretty well. When I cooked meals this past weekend one of our staff commented that the food finishes right before it is time to ring the bell. "I time it that way" I said.

With all of this ability, knowing how to calculate time, I usually put about ten more things on my 'to do' list than I can actually do. Well, more like 3 things to be exact.

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