Friday, February 13, 2009

Life: One Giant Story Problem

I don't think I was listening in third grade on the day we learned story problems.
Math is one of those subjects in school that builds on itself. If one day in third grade the sun happened to be shining so bright on the playground that you involuntarily started daydreaming about cartwheeling through the grassy meadow and incidentally missed a giant chunk of math class, you're screwed for the rest of your mathematical life. Looking back through my schooling I am thinking this happened to me quite a bit. My math knowledge seems to be missing large chunks of fundamental building blocks that I am just sure were taught in my math classes over the years.
Don't get me wrong I got A's in math (the advanced math, mind you) all through school but that was partly due to my own anal retentiveness and partly because of my brilliant at math sister Morgan and my best friend Brooke. I would basically have to relearn everything before every test. I'm great at memorizing then forgetting.
I took a whopping 1 math class in college. It was Math 108 (Contemporary Mathematics). We did do quite a few word problems, but I mostly remember learning how to figure out drivers license numbers. It was my dream class. I didn't have to use my brain once and I think I ended up with a 106 % in the class. What's not to like about success without effort?
When I decided to major in photography I thought I had finally escaped the loathsome story problem for good. But unfortunately you can't get through photography 101 without being able to convert ounces into pints and pints into gallons, and don't get me started on sensitometry, studio lighting, and aperture. I spent more time on conversions than I did on actual photography. It only got worse when I started to learn digital photography and photoshop. The story problems just got longer... If I want an image to be this big at 300 dpi, what do I need to set my PPI to?
Most of my beloved photography is problem solving. If you peer through the lens of a camera and a pole is sticking out the person's head you must come up with a another angle. If you're shadows are two dark then you bump up your f-stop. If you meter your whites and they are off the charts you'll lose detail, but if you stop down you may lose your shadows. Do you use artificial lighting? Filters? (This was much more difficult with film mind you). I am not even going to get into printing.
Then there is sewing, one of my new favorites hobbies. Talk about problem solving. I am constantly having to think and rethink the best way to do something. Try doing a bag with a lining, I just dare you. I love it and the strife is worth the brain work but why does everything I love require so much problem solving, especially when I am so bad at it?

Anyway it hit me the other day (while Matt and I were arguing about something or other) that my life is one GIANT story problem. EVERYTHING from cooking to cleaning, from time management to when to start a family. I have to identify the variables, and come up with a solution.  I mean our marriage takes problem solving skills that I long for.  
If you think about it, God really is the ultimate problem solver.   He took the ultimate problem of sin and created a solution through his son, Jesus.  So I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask him to fill the gaps in my mathematics education.


llanceman said...

...thus proving the beautiful nature of mathematics!