Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Weights and measures
The road I'm taking abuts the children's science museum, and in the museum's "backyard" I spot the outdoor exhibits left unexplored on a dreary day like this. A blue Studebaker-type car is suspended a foot off the ground. A huge granite sphere sits untouched. I can't remember what you're supposed to do with them, but they are a strange sight out here, all alone in the chill.
Now there's a metal plate in my path, the length of two cars. A truck scale, the purple sign to one side reading 0.0 lb in red digital display. And then I do a weird thing. I step on it.
It feels transgressive, naked. Which is funny, because naked is usually what I am when I practice this fraught rite of self-measuring. Naked and secluded behind a closed door. Shoes come off. Hair ties are removed. Reader, I take off my rings before I step on my bathroom scale.
Yet here I am, sneaker-clad, pullover zipped up to my chin, right where any passerby could see, could then know. The red number on the truck scale is the same number I see at home. It is greater than many whole numbers, though it is much less than, I imagine, a truck.
I start laughing madly, the fog-eaten skyline at my back. I almost wish someone would walk past. "This is how much space I take up!" I would shout as they avoided eye contact. "Plus the force of gravity."