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If you’ve ever read any of my blogs before (which you should do, they are thrilling), then you’d know I’m not a mathematician… however, I am quite the fan.
Now it’s always been a li’l hobby of mine to make life a bit more difficult for myself by throwing some daily rules my way. Not every day mind you, but some nights I’ll be in bed and just think “Tomorrow I’m going to spice things up and do X.” Maybe I hate myself? Maybe I just like a laugh. Thin line. One Monday night I was thinking about how often you hear people saying something akin to “They should teach real life things in maths lessons,” often while shaking a fist. What are real life things? What is mathematics in these people’s minds? I sat up, looked my fiancée in the eyes with intensity and said, “My love, tomorrow I’m going to point out every time I think I’m using maths.” She turned to me, held my hand gently and whispered, “I don’t care.”
Tuesday morning, I wake up to the blaring of my alarm (for those interested I wake up to Tiny Tim – Living in the Sunlight) and sigh, while setting another alarm for 10 minutes later… wait a minute, MATHS! I turn over with joy that the task has started so early; I catch her sliding the engagement ring slowly off her finger…
Ten minutes later I get up, wash, brush my teeth and all that jazz and move on to my favourite part of the day: making coffee. I buy it ready ground, so I do my usual 1:16 coffee/water ratio and th… MATHS! She has already left for work by this point: who knows if she’ll ever return?
After giving our dog its morning walk, which contained no maths from what I could see, I measure out MATHS her food which she gobbles with delight. With my laptop on I start scheduling MATHS my day out, prep what I need and then get going. It’s a lovely day where I’m mostly doing layout work for a book in the morning. To begin, I set up the document and organise the outer safety margins, taking into consideration the alternating side which must be wider for the wirobind which I measured MATHS earlier. I then start creating the typographical system using a ratio MATHS to build the hierarchical heading and paragraph structure, along with the swatch library of our brand colours. Lovely, time to crack on.
After a few hours, it’s coffee MATHS time again. To give myself a little break I do some work to improve the accessibility contrast of some elements on our website. We aim for WCAG 2.0 level AA, which requires a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal sized text, so I aim to use particular tints of our brand colours to hit this. Guess what that is? You know it by now: MATHS.
All this maths logging is getting tiring. I require a break: I require lunch. I start by weighing ou..oh … MATHS my protein shake followed by subtracting MATHS a chicken sandwich from my daily macros log. I add a li’l extra value for the additional salt from my tears. It’s 1:00 pm, there’s maths everywhere. I take a walk to give my mind peace, and the dog tags along. This time I pop into the shop, grab a bottle of wine for later and some Dentastix for my companion. £8.49, I count MATHS out my change and pay the exact amount; only I can hear my screams.
Home again, back to the grind. In what would be a bliss of an afternoon, it was chock-a-block with meetings which only required my regular thoughts. For a short while I forgot maths existed and life just flew by until, without realising, it was back again – with a vengeance. For you see, after work I do a gym session and while loading my barbell to the weight I needed I realised MATHS was occurring. My fingers lost their grip, my eyes watching with fear as this metal monstrosity headed towards the ground. Oops, typo… I meant my foot. Like Newton before me, I discovered gravity.
It was at this point I gave up; my little experiments had caused me headaches before but never ventured into the realm of physical pain. However, I felt I could certainly close the curtain on this one knowing that maths does indeed influence quite a lot, no matter how small it might seem at the time. In fact, it is often used so commonly that the mind skips past it. I fully recommend people try this themselves – however I do urge you to be careful…
It’s 7:14 pm, the sound of her footsteps on our pebble drive get louder. I hobble to the door in a frenzy, ready to tell her the results of my experiment. “Not now,” she sighs with her voice; “Not ever,” she screams with her eyes. “Maybe someday,” the ring still on her finger suggests.