Monday, February 21, 2005

Daily Physics

I was sort of a math dummy when I was in school, which gave me a great fear of the physical sciences. I did great at biology but the thought of encountering math in the science lab gave me performance anxiety. I enjoyed chemistry, to a point, and did my best to avoid physics. I took a class at a college called "The Flying Circus of Physics" and got high school credit for it so I never had to really take high school physics.

As I get older, I find that physics is in my daily life, whether I like it or not. I'm talking about two concepts, namely entropy and inertia. I am on a crusade against entropy - the natural tendency of systems to degrade, run down and become disorderly. The coffee table in the living room is a key battle ground. Mail, keys, change, Peter's camera equipment, books, plastic bags, and all manner of other debris have a nasty habit of collecting on that coffee table. Etropy in action.

I've been trying to institute a campaign to eliminate the laundry problem in our house. I have a tendency to let laundry pile up, causing me to do 3 or 4 loads in a day, which (of course) I then don't feel like folding and putting away. It's a constant struggle to try to stay on top of things and I decided to try to do the laundry when there was a full load ready to go (instead of waiting until one of us was out of underwear).

Unfortunately, the Laundry Entropy Project has hit the brick wall of another physics concept - inertia. Besides the nifty physics rule definition, Merriam Webster has a second definition that perfectly sums up my difficulties: "indisposition to motion, exertion or change: INERTNESS." Yes, I am sometimes totally indisposed to move, to exert myself, to change the status of the laundry.

In all, I think inertia is the bigger problem. Disorder is annoying, but can usually be sorted out. Inertia though - a reluctance to change, an inability to get moving - is a more difficult nut to crack. By its very nature, it's a difficult process to reverse.

I don't have the answers. Unlike actual physics, the physics of daily life can rarely be resolved into a simple equation. But I think being aware of inertia and being willing to make bold changes, brave moves, even unthinkable leaps of faith when the situation requires, will go a long way to helping conquer personal inertia.


At 23 February 2005 at 12:51, Blogger Stacey said...

I have that inerta problem with my body...once I sit down I don't want to get up...and get off the computer, like I need to do right now and get to work...

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