Monday, September 21, 2015

I Feel Like We Just Did A Complicated Math Problem

Hey, Friends.

Math was never my best subject in school, which is a big part of why I ended up majoring in English. I'm still pretty convinced I only passed Calculus in college because my professor was leaving at the end of the semester and we all reaped the benefit of a wicked curve.

Why are we discussing math?

Remember those word problems you used to get in school:

Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour (mph), leaves Westford heading toward Eastford, 260 miles away. At the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Eastford heading toward Westford. When do the two trains meet? How far from each city do they meet? 

(You can read all about that fun problem, if you are denying for the technicalities, here.)

My friend and I are going to see a concert tomorrow night down in New York City.  I feel like we just completed the same type of math problem while trying to figure out which train to take to A) ride together if possible, and/or B) at least reach Grand Central at approximately the same time.

It really shouldn't be that hard, as it is just reading the timetable of the train, but there are a lot of factors that went into it.  

Person A has the easiest part of the schedule.  She took the whole day off from work as soon as she got the tickets.  She rarely calls in to work and has a shit-ton of benefit time to use (assuming she can get it approved in advance -- that's the tricky part), so why not?  Not knowing what the plans would be, she wanted to have the whole day available for fun time --even if that only meant being able to sleep in late.  She literally has nothing to do but drive the 5-10 minutes to the train station, pay for parking, buy the train ticket, and get on the correct train.  She is a slacker. I'm Person A so I can say this.  I wouldn't defame my friends!

Person B is a responsible adult and is going to work all day.  This is one of many reasons why she is allowed to educate your children.  She will be getting on the train at a different station, approximately half-way to the destination.  She does not have to work the next day, so no worries that young minds will be unduly impacted by the concert experience.

What train should Person A take that will work with Person B's schedule and still get them to Grand Central in time to eat before the concert?

Person B has two different times she could potentially leave work, one of which is far more likely than the other.  Person A starts checking the train schedule, and comes up with a train that looks plausible:  it leaves her station and stops at the station where Person B would be boarding the train. They agree that it might just work.

**2 hours later**

Person B reports that the plan is not going to work.  Traffic is going to majorly screw things up.  I will take poor Person B 45 minutes to get near the train station, judging from today's traffic.

Now what train shall they take to get to the concert?

Person B looks at the train schedule and comes up with two possibilities:  one where they ride together part way, and one where they meet in Grand Central.

Person A is still a slacker, and now only needs to get on the train an hour later.  She will sit by the window and save a seat in case Person B is able to catch that train and continue their journey together.

Will Person A and Person B manage to get on the same train?  

Will they end up meeting in Grand Central, taking trains that will arrive approximately 15 minutes apart?

Will there be a problem on the Hudson Line, and Metro-North will make all of their planning irrelevant?

Will they eventually get to see Of Monsters and Men in concert?  

Stay tuned!

And this time Person A is going to make sure she brings her portable charger, complete with all the necessary pieces, so that she does not end up with a dead, phone-shaped paperweight before the day's adventures are over.

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