My Personal Slide Rule

Posted on

Being raised in the 90s was interesting, as far as measurements go.

You see, my parents were taught prior to the 1970s, when Canada wasn’t using the metric system.  However, by the time I went to school the metric system was part of the curriculum.  As a result, I learned metric in school but all measurement at home seemed to be done in imperial.  My parents couldn’t really help with homework as they themselves hardly understood the metric system.

I find it amazing and so unique to our country to step back and take a look at the measurements I use nowadays.  Whether it’s due to living so close to the United States, or still remnants from my parents’ education, I have my own set of standards when it comes to measurements.

I am most comfortable with the metric system by far.  I think a base-10 system makes a lot more sense and is easier to work with than a base-12 or base-16 system, simply because that’s what we’re used to.  We have 10 fingers and 10 toes.  I’d convert from centimetres to metres any day before converting from inches to feet, and using fractions of inches instead of millimetres makes my brain ache… everyone hates fractions!

However, there are just some things that I can’t switch to the metric system!  When I estimate or give a person’s height and weight, it’s always in pounds and feet.  When using my oven, I preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 190 degrees Celsius.  Ask me to do either of these in metric and I’ll have to grab a calculator, because I’m completely lost at estimating them.

But when I talk about distances between locations, it’s in kilometers, not miles.  When I talk about the temperature outside, it will be in degrees Celsius.  And when I weigh food at Bulk Barn, it’s in grams and kilograms.  Again, I can’t do these calculations any other way.

Each generation seems to have their own system in Canada… my parents certainly measure in miles, but I know they also use KM/H when riding down the highway.  What about those raised in the 2000s?  What will my own children measure in?  I hope they’ll be more attuned to the metric system, but maybe some things will never change.

What does your personal measuring system look like?