Saturday, January 08, 2011

How Not to Hurry

You've probably seen those optical illusion puzzles where two lines of the same length are made to look different because of the angles of the lines adjoining them. Forget for the moment that any lines in two dimension, however different, could be the same length in three. It's a parallax thing, about which see football posts and goal-line discussion technology discussions passim.

A car pulls up at a pelican crossing and the passenger uses the opportunity to get out. As he gets out the lights change. The guy makes no attempt to adjust the speed of egress. Without looking as if he is hurrying he reaches the kerb and the car pulls off before any driver behind has become impatient enough to honk. He hurried without looking hurried. He did it in an 'I'm chilled' way. I expect you can work out his skin colour. Not all black people are cool. That would be a racist statement. But this one was and more black people than white seem able to pull off the hurrying-without-rushing thing. It can make you feel impatient with them because they don't seem to have made an effort.

Other individuals, and I've often seen this with people crossing the road in front of a car, break into an apparent jog which makes no discernible difference to their pace. Some women achieve this without bending their arms. The non-hurry-run. It makes you feel better about them but changes nothing. I expect Michael McIntyre could do a good impression of it.

One of the many things I'm going to apparently do, rather than really do which would involve effort, is to make it look as if I am doing less than I am rather than more than I am. It's going to be a black year. An optical illusion year. The length of the lines will not be changing.

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