Gravity vs. friction; or science, my ass.

Carnivals aren’t just for children or freak shows. On a lovely (chilly) spring day, such that we experienced yesterday, the place to be was outside, even for my generally whiny, cranky self.

I don’t normally hamy skideve a fear of heights, but my general girth and awkward habit of falling pretty much keep me close to the ground. But this year, this month, this day is one of saying – if not ‘yes to everything’ –  then at least, ‘why the hell not?’ to as much as I can.  And so I conquered the giant slide.

As I trudged up those 1,000 feet (some might say 2 flights of stairs), I imagined the people lining up at the bottom, and what might go through their heads as they viewed me hurtling towards them at the speed of something heavy coming down a steep decline (probably something to do with laughing and pointing). I was sliding in tandem with my 9-year old niece, so I figured that given my weight, gravity would be whooshing me down with enough time for me to get half-way to the cotton candy stand before she made it down to the bottom. Imagine my confusion when she not only beat me down there time-wise, she also went about 2 feet farther.

With more rides to ride, and clowns to make cry, there was no time to figure out what happened.  But when I mentioned this phenomenon to someone later in the day, they explained: “Well, there’s gravity; and then there’s friction. You’ve got a lot more surface area creating friction on that slide, so there’s resistance.” And the lightbulb blinked on. Resistance I understood. If I was the slide and saw my ass coming towards me, I’d resist too.

Self-deprecating humor  aside, the whoosh was joyful and liberating; so much so, that my ass couldn’t resist saying ‘why the hell not?’ for the rest of the day. Even to dancing in public. Now, that resulted in some laughing and pointing…