I was sitting in my aunt and uncle’s living room, having a casual conversation with my cousin.
“Yeah, well, my roommate is very nice”, she was telling me, “but she’s a little… well… weird. I mean, she has these habits. Like, for instance, she’s always complaining that she feels hot, and wants to keep the windows open at night. Once, it was like 22 degrees! And she just wouldn’t let me close the windows! Can you believe that? I was freezing!”
I stared at her blankly. There’s an awkward pause. I know that my cousin is like her father, and is particularly sensitive to the cold, but this seemed a bit much. I might have to side with her roommate on this one.
“Umm… well… 22 degrees is not that cold”, I reasoned, “Was there maybe a chilly spring breeze coming in through the window or something?”
It was her turn to stare at me blankly. Another awkward pause. “It was the middle of winter.”
Now I’m staring back at her. This is Seattle, not Rome. There is no such thing as a winter day with a 22 degree evening. Something clicks
“Ooh! 22 degrees Fahrenheit!”
This little gem posted on the IFLScience facebook page reminded me of this exchange.
Being the only person in the lab that is even tangentially American, many people have asked me things about Fahrenheit and gallons and pounds and whatnot. While I have memorized a few convenient conversions related to baking, I will never get the American Imperial system.
One of American’s favorite questions to ask anyone from Europe is “So… how much is a gallon of gas over there?” 12 years I have been asked this question, and I still have no idea.