How many meters make a mile?

It’s 1980. I am in Grade one. Canada has just begun teaching it’s kids about the millimeter.

Somehow I got it into my head that 100 meters was the equivalent to one kilometer. I accidentally dropped one zero in an article I wrote for the Blog Herald. To further my confusion I also was flip flopping back and forth between the Imperial system and the mostly world-wide adopted Metric system. So which system of measurement do I use?

This made me think back back to growing up in the Maritimes. My parents learned the imperial way of doing things. Imperially taught teachers were teaching the metric system to kids. When I traveled to the Grocery Store with my Dad, we bought meat by the pound. My mother had 4L of milk delivered by the Milk Man on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. When my brother and I were brought to the doctor for check-ups we were always weighed in pounds. Any medicine prescribed was by the tablespoon or teaspoon.

While at the doctor during my last check-up their vintage imperial scale had been replaced with a digitally enhanced impostor. When I stepped on the scale I magically had lost half of my weight, only to realize… poof, after the nurse converted it to pounds, this kilogram estimate was not so. I only know my height in inches. I have no idea what it is in centimeters if someone were to ask me out of the blue.

ONE area of measurement the school system did learn me well was 25ºC is not Fahrenheit and usually occurred in the summer. I have no real idea how hot or cold anything is imperially. Damn. The metric system is fairly easy to comprehend. BUT I still to this day have not had the pleasure to work in an environment where the metric system is widely used. I worked as a gallery art framer when living in Fredericton. Paintings were framed by the inch not the centimeter. Moldings I placed order for; by the foot. I still by eggs by the dozen today. In college we were instructed design by the inch. No centimeters involved. Yet, I instinctively know to pre-heat an oven to 350ºF to roast a chicken. Hmmm.

One can walk into the liquor stores in Canada and walk out with a case of beer, a pint of vodka and a 2L bottle of cooler. And anyone over the age of 25 would remember this:

To further ad to this conundrum, any human whether Canadian or not will certainly notice our diverse language and packaging laws both federally, provincially and sometimes individually implemented; which is another discussion 😉 eh?

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9 thoughts on “How many meters make a mile?

  1. Yes, we do live in a contradictory society in more ways than one, don’t we? It is amusing and we have to give ourselves a pat on the back for managing to live by and accept this fact. Loved that little cartoon, brings back a lot of memories for sure of the good old days, so simple ……whatever the measurement was, it was still a loaf, a carton and a stick.

  2. It is amusing and we have to give ourselves a pat on the back for managing to live by and accept this fact.

    Yes, we do need to give ourselves a pat on the back or a hug for undertsanding and making it day to day in this great crazy society we all call home. If there was only one way of doing things it would seem so black and white. I like the greyness in between… where all the units, measurments and wieghts have a place to exist.

  3. I grew up with imperial (in ireland) but now I barely remember it. I still know what a foot is but the rest of it has vanished. I guess living in a metric country (sweden) can do that.

    Now I think in metres and have actually forgotten how tall I am in feet or how heavy in stone. Cooking, however, is a great deal easier. No more cups (american OR english) for me. Bring on the decilitres!

  4. paddy – interesting how we can adapt to another form of measurment and forget how the older learned form of measurment worked. I find it a little odd in Canada simply because yes there is a governed standard for measurment but the laws are not strictly enforced across the board i.e. – what we import.

    A decilitre – whoah. It’s been years since I saw that word and actually read it or used it for that matter. I still use cups for cooking ’cause that is what we sued at home. Akthough in school i was tought to cook using the metric system. lol!

    Makes me wonder what my kids will learn if i have some. I may need to adapt my cooking methods so they are more with the times of today.

  5. In the kitchen we are constantly using both units of measurement depending on the recipe. Sometimes you find both on the same recipe. 1L of this and then 3 ounces of that. Or 4 g of butter which comes by the lb. Even every day things ie cooking temps. Most kitchens set oven temps in F and steam tables in C yet you just have to adapt. Its kinda a metaphor for life. Adapting to new ways of doing things try to improve upon something give it your own unique spin. Yet at the same time recognizing when something is fine as it is… sometimes simplest is best. Kinda like Achems Razor where the simplest explanation is best (to paraphrase badly). Sometimes we get so caught up in the confusion life can throw at us, we need to step back and find a way to clear the clutter in the fridge and improvise a new menu for ourselves and sometimes we need to make whats familiar and comfortable.
    So pull out your spoons and feast on Life cuz every bite tastes a little bit different.

  6. Shane – We Canadians have it bad. Litres and Gallons and I wish I could type liter with an er without having to think about it. I always type the French spelling litre. Just another thing to throw me off.

    So pull out your spoons and feast on Life cuz every bite tastes a little bit different.


    I hope we get to have dinner together soon Shane.

  7. If you download Firefox as your web browser you can then download a google add-on that will automatically check for spelling errors as you type. It’s awesome!

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