A Short Story: How a Coffeeholic Discovered Speed

A Short Story: How a Coffeeholic Discovered Speed

You’re sitting on a bench sipping coffee with a friend of yours. You’re facing a slightly busy road littered with kiosks of roughly the same dimensions, spaced evenly away from each other.

You’re sitting on a bench sipping coffee with a friend of yours. You’re facing a slightly busy road littered with kiosks of roughly the same dimensions, spaced evenly away from each other. People are briskly walking by — when an odd white-bearded man with a toga, screaming “Eureka!”, runs frantically between the crowd.

You turn to your friend and exclaim, “He’s walking quite fast”. Your friend casually replies, “yeah, he’s quick”. Almost instantly, another person catches your eye, this time a woman with her shoulders tilted to support her other hand which was carrying grocery bags. This time your friend turns to you and says, “She’s going very fast.”

You agree initially, but then you retort at your friend mockingly, “So you think quick is faster than very fast?”. They say, “Of course. What, you think very fast is faster than quick?”. In no time, a heated debate begins and both of you are up and ready to begin to brawl — then you pause. A thought had miraculously surfaced into your minds eye.

“Wait wait wait, our disagreement is a cause of our differing understanding of words. Could there be a way to set aside our slight disagreement and agree on something?”, you acknowledge. Both of you itch your chins and begin to think.

You start to think out loud and so a socratic conversation ensues:

You: “We know they’re moving fast. But How do we know that? Well, we subconsciously compared them to the other pedestrians whereby they seemed to be moving faster. Lets break it down fundamentally, how do we know that they’re moving in the first place?”.

Your friend: “Hmmm… We can see them travel from one position on the road to another”.

You: “Good, good. Lets be more precise. We witnessed the man and woman both move from the beginning of that kiosk to two kiosks further ahead — ”.

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Your friend: “So essentially we can agree they moved from and to the same positions — 3 kiosks.”

You: “Absolutely! We obviously both saw one of them traverse the space of 3 kiosks faster than the other….”

Your friend: “Naturally, the old man reached the third kiosk in less time — ”

You: “Thats it! Time! We agree on the distance as 3 kiosks and now we know time is another important concept.”

Suddenly your heart jolts, as a result of drinking your caffeinated beverage, causing you to raise two fingers to the middle of your chest.

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