Monday, March 05, 2007

One thing to love about the Metric System...

After over 6 cumulative years here in Italy, I still can't get used to the Metric System. I know--it supposedly makes more sense than the U.S. system of measurement, blah, blah, blah. Base-10, and all that. But I'm just not a metric person.

There are a few conversions I've memorized, like I know to set my oven to 177 degrees Celcius to bake a cake. And 55 miles per hour is about 90 kilometers per hour (also equivalent to "standing still" on an Italian highway, but that's for another post).

And then there are the numbers I have a vague idea about...I know that 3 degrees means it's cold outside, 25 degrees is pleasant, and 38 degrees is blisteringly hot. But I still don't know exactly what those temperatures are without converting them...I should have studied those signs outside of U.S. banks more. You know, the ones that showed the time, the temperature in Faherenheit, and the temperature in Celcius.

Anyway, there is ONE good thing about the Metric System: Kilograms. Have you ever weighed yourself on a metric scale? Here's what my bathroom scale looks like with me on it:
I mean...63.3 kilograms, people! How can I feel bad about that extra winter weight when my scale says 63.3? I mean, it's not even up to the 3-digits, like it would be on a U.S. scale! I feel like I'm weighing myself on the moon, or in some low-gravity zone.

Granted, those of you reading this who were born, raised and weighed with the Metric System may have no idea what I'm talking about. But for those of you in the U.S., the last time we saw 63 on a scale was back in elementary school, right? The trick here is, of course, that you must NEVER convert your kilos to pounds. That ruins all the fun and self-love.

So if you're trying to lose some weight before bathing suit season starts, here's my advice: Go out and get yourself a metric bathroom scale. Weigh yourself. Now go eat another chocolate chip cookie.

Nah, make it two chocolate chip cookies.


patrizia said...

I've spent seventeen years overseas, most in Japan aside from 4 in the UK. The UK mixes metric and pounds which was a real pain. It's funny but I'm so used to measuring my kids temperature in metric that I don't know how high their fevers are in F.

For weather I pretty much know 10 is 50F, 20 is 68, and 30 is 77, and so on. That's about enough for me.;-)

Your scale comment made me laugh. I don't think it matters if it's in metric or not, it's never the number I want to see.

Natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie said...

Hi Patrizia,

Let me try posting this again...(I posted it accidentally before I was finished, so I've deleted it and started again!)

I lived in Japan, too--in Yokohama. Where are you?

My kids just took turns with the fever/cough thing in our house, and you're right--I'm more used to the metric version than Fahrenheit when I measure their temperatures now.

I'll try and remember the increments of 10 degrees--that's a good way to look at it!

And another good thing about weight in kilos...I feel better saying: "I've gained a few kilos" vs. "I've gained five pounds." ;-)

cynjay said...

I'm waiting until we colonize the moon. I know I'm going to like what the scale says there.


Natalie said...

Ha! I'll join you on the moon, for sure. ;-)

Thomas said...

Since 1992 my weight has been in kilograms. Since 1983, my body measurements have been in centimeters. I have even tried it as early as 1975, the year of the Metric Conversion Act. Some of my measurements would be quite impressive in centimeters, even more so in millimeters. Others would make a person feel like a pig due to the big numbers. If there is no standard practice as to which unit to use, weightlifters would use troy pounds, normally reserved for gold and silver, their own mass would be in Merchant's pounds, somewhat more than the Avoirdupois, but discontinued. Even kilograms are possible. Chest and arm measurements might be in centimeters and waist in inches.
All of this would inflate egos but would be very confusing, even by UK standards.
Bikers and runners would favor kilometers,as it would make their speed impressive. Nautical units will make them feel like slowpokes.