Sunday, June 26, 2011

How can two people travel at the same speed when one is traveling more quickly?

I have been someone negligent in my habit of taking an afternoon walk. "Somewhat negligent" is defined as Runkeeper sending me an email asking where I've been, and a subsequent discover that I haven't taken my afternoon walk in about a month.

So on Friday I got out on the sidewalk again, taking a route which led me through an industrial park with several businesses.

At one of the businesses, I had to walk around a UPS truck as the driver was completing his stop at the business.

I kept on walking. Subsequently, Runkeeper told me that I was walking at a speed of 3.21 miles per hour. (I may amble when I walk, but I have long legs.) As I passed the next business, the UPS truck was pulling in right in front of me. I kept on walking and got to another business - and there was the UPS truck again.

At that point I had to turn around to head back to work, so I told the UPS guy that I couldn't race him any more. :)

Now if you think about it, a human being who isn't that fast shouldn't be able to keep pace with a truck. So how did I do it?

Easy. The UPS guy did a lot more than I did. Here's what the UPS guy would do between businesses:
  • Get into his truck.

  • Leave the business parking lot and go to the street.

  • Drive down the street to the next parking lot.

  • Pull into the parking lot.

  • Find a parking place.

  • Find any packages that had to be delivered to the business.

  • Run to the business.

  • Deliver any packages that needed to be delivered, and pick up any packages that needed to be shipped.

  • Run out to the truck.

In the meantime, here's what I'd be doing between businesses:
  • Walk.

So while the UPS guy and I were supposedly traveling at the same speed, a more thorough observation shows who was actually traveling more quickly.
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