Sunday, 24 October 2010

Granny Physics

Out of 22 Christmases (really, spellcheck? Just the one s?), I've probably been shopping for Christmas gifts on about 18 of those occasions. During these times I've observed an interesting fact: Grannies seem to follow their own laws of physics which are inapplicable to those under 60. I am the kind of person who decides what they want to buy and finds out beforehand how much it costs and where to buy it. In such cases, for example, Grannies have the innate ability to block exactly enough of a corridor to make impossible for you to get past, should you be in a hurry.
They can sense the speed you want to go at, and the speed that they are going at is relative to yours. Basically, the more of a hurry you're in, the more space the grandma takes up and the slower she goes. Also scientists have correlation between the amount of grannies about and the amount of things you need to get done divided by the amount of time you have to get them done in.

I don't even know if that's an equation, I just wanted it to sound official.

Here's the second thing I've noticed. Having read some material on string theory and finding out that there's a good possibility that there are more than 4 dimensions (and having watched stargate, where there are definitely more), I've decided that grannies have developed the ability (perhaps through cataracts) to see into these other dimensions.

This manifests in the 4 (3 + time) dimensions we lowly whippersnappers can see as a sudden, unexplained and abrupt stop in the trajectory of the granny. Usually this happens as you are planning to overtake the granny (which they can sense, you know) so you end up nearly running the granny over, or crashing into her back. Of course, this would be totally YOUR FAULT. Because you are young. And she is old.

The abrupt stop is followed by some sort of eerie silence where the granny is almost seemingly rooted to the spot. While you may think that nothing is going on upstairs, and are trying to figure out whether or not the old dear has dementia and thus gauging how nice you have to be to her when you ask her to get out of your way, the reality is that the granny is back on one of the other 11 dimensions that M-theory has speculated to exist. About now the granny starts to turn, but there is still no sign of higher-level intelligence or thought processes. You realise that she's just trying to decide which way to go.

Oh no. You've come dangerously close to the event horizon.

The event horizon is the circular region around a black hole beyond which is it impossible to escape the crushing force of gravity and you will become spaghettified (that's a real thing) as you are pulled mercilessly into the black hole. The nearer to get to the event horizon, the more time slows down, and this is the effect that you notice most when in the vicinity of the granny. You know where you want to go and how to get there, but for some reason the way that the granny was going about a minute ago was unsatisfactory and now she's trying to decide on whether or not to pick a new direction or to carry on as before.

Now you're in a lose-lose situation. Either the granny carries on going the way she was before - in which case she just wasted a good part of your day for no apparent reason, or:

The granny is now apparently oblivious to you. She is now entirely in her own dimension. Unfortunately you're stuck in this one, so you just feel the granny banging into you repeatedly. This has ACTUALLY happened. Instead of asking me to move out of the way (or going round), the old biddy in question actually tried (twice) to walk THROUGH me. Her quantum physics needed tweaking, otherwise she'd have been able to.

Of course, there are many kinds of granny. The one described above is reminiscent of an English or Helsinki granny. There are, however, a rare kind of lovely granny called the Finnish rural grandma
which appears to have separated from mummo anglicus and mummo helsingiensis before the latter developed the art of being the annoying side of geriatric. :

Among other talents, the Finnish granny, or mummo fennicus is able to make seemingly unendless amounts of coffee and sweet buns appear from nowhere. As soon as you drink one cup, you are offered more coffee and buns, until the minimum quota (the pulla constant) is filled. This hovers at around one litre of coffee and three buns. Should you need woolly socks, locate a mummo fennicus, who will gladly knit you a pair. The mummo fennicus has walking poles for exercise but chooses to use them for good rather than evil, rarely frequenting shopping centres at Christmas and preferring instead to entertain people at home, feeding them buns and coffee. For the love of humanity, please try to aim for this kind of granny and keep your tartan bag out of the way at Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. If x is the distance between you and the granny and w is the effective width of her, the following applies:

    lim w = infinity

    , which basically means that it's totally impossible to pass a granny walking in front of you while you're in a hurry.