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Things That Stack

February 23, 2018

In July 2017, I drove from Washington, DC to San Francisco, CA. The drive was slow. I have significantly more to say about the drive than a curt, four-letter sentence, but that’s for another time. In San Francisco, everything seems fast: the cascade of information, the frenetic herd of grown men riding Swagtron scooters to work, the venturous walk of a man wearing a “Stop Pitching” shirt. Maybe it’s just the (non) weather. It’s nice not to freeze, but I no longer have a concept of time. Time made sense as a DC elementary student because each season had three months and my favorite book of seasons had four pages. A mathematician at heart, all was well in the universe.

I find respite in thinking about ordinary things differently. I enjoy rhyming, and recently was struck by the beautiful synchronicity of rhyme and thyme. “Rhyme thyme” is my new favorite poem because the way the first word lingers on the back of my tongue when reading the second looks like a tingle, and I love puns. Another way to think of things differently is to observe the way in which they stack. Assuming gravity is operating as expected, things stack reliably. In general, gravity provides for a great user experience.

I like it when books stack. I think this makes me feel intelligent. I try to ignore the meager number of pages between the front cover and my bookmark. I like it when clothes stack, because I can literally hide my problems from sight with other problems, but then I run out of laundry. I like it when floors stack, because it means a building hasn’t fallen, unless the floors are two inches apart, in which case it has. I’m glad when I see a person riding a bike because it means the person has stacked itself on the bike which has stacked itself on the road. I’m less keen on alternative orderings.

Thinking about how things stack is an excellent method to get my mind off things like work, plantar fasciitis, the DMV, bacterial antibiotic resistance, etc. I encourage you, the reader, to think about how well we as a species have stacked things over time. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it.