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?