This is the true story of how, on a drive to Melbourne, the secrets of the universe were opened to me.
I was a bit like Paul the Apostle on the road to Damascus – except it wasn’t a blinding light that revealed an epiphany and I’m not likely to found a universal church; but, anyway, I like to think that it was a similar “Oy Vey!” type of moment. The expression, at times, combines a profound disappointment with a happy revelation in the way only Jews can understand.
On the night of my arrival at my motel I rang my wife to tell her I was okay, and could she please stop poring over my life insurance policy now.
As part of the chit-chat she asked about the drive down and I described the constant phenomena of it seeming like ages for each 10km to click by, despite the fact that it seemed like a really swift trip overall.
I really had felt that way – despite the fact that it was my wife I was talking to and my default position is to lie to her about everything – so when, later that night, imagine my astonishment when I read the following in my Skeptical Inquirer magazine:“Vierordt’s Law stipulates that we tend to overestimate the temporal length of short intervals and underestimate that of longer ones”.
A law! With a capital “L”!
Don’t just imagine my astonishment; imagine that blinding light on the road to Damascus with me and Paul both yelling “Oy Vey!” Actually, I think I woke up the people next door – a problem Paul didn’t have to contend with on his country road, the lucky shmuck.
In the same way I discovered a variety of other laws (so you’ll see that there’s a little Isaac Newton in me, he having been beaned by a falling apple and thus discovering gravity) as well as the Apostle Paul.
Here’s a few of those other immutable laws.
The death-grip-on-the-wheel passing law: when you overtake a B-Double it will seem to use, like about a month of armpit sweat. But if it overtakes you, it will seem like a few seconds. An addendum states that if you do overtake it, it will overtake you on the next downhill stretch and the cycle will repeat until you die a dehydrated husk of mummification behind the wheel.
The Walker/jackass law: when you are doing what you consider to be the optimum speed for the conditions on the road, anyone going at a speed higher than yours is a “lunatic” and anyone puttering alone slower than you is an “idiot”. These terms are interchangeable and you can add colourful adjectives, not suitable for printing here, as your heart desires.
Not all of the universe’s unknown laws involved driving; and while I’m sure all of the Top Gearfans sitting around in their Formula One pyjamas will be disappointed by that, some are far more pedestrian:
The chocolate disappearance law: When you open a box of chocolates, each little delicacy that you sample seems to deliver an eternity of delicious bliss. A half-an-hour later you look at the box and it is empty (except for a couple of nougat which are only edible by camels and goats). “What the…?” is what you’ll then say regardless of the fact that you’re the only one in the house.
My epiphany back in my motel room after the road to Melbourne told me that individual perception is governed by psychological rules that actually betray reality; rather than reflect it.
It told me that we judge things by our own purely subjective positions. How’s your epiphany going?
ROBERT WALKER, 梧桐夜网dailyadvertiser南京夜网419论坛This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.