I love my math class

I don’t think I’ve ever thought those words to myself before Saturday.  But I do.  I love my math class.

Math is one of those subjects that is clearly important and yet has, until recently, seemed really endlessly boring to me.  It’s not that I was awful at it, though some days I certainly feel that way.  I’ve actually always tested well in math, but I’ve rarely intuitively understood why the more complex processes work, and if you’re like me, you want to know why.  My current math class comes at a point in my life when I’m older, more serious, and more determined to understand than ever before, and I’m really getting it.  I keep seeing all these connections and patterns and I can feel my brain expanding.

My class is on Saturdays, and it lasts for close to five hours.  Around 10:30, when we usually have our break, I’m downright peckish, but also hyped up and thrilled with the sudden influx of knowledge.  Yesterday, as I went to buy a slice of pumpkin bread and a green tea, I had this momentous feeling of connection.  I couldn’t stop thinking, and, sitting down in my desk again to nosh, I unwrapped the pumpkin bread and inhaled the spicy smell.  I’m currently reading a book about spices, and the smell made me think of just how far those spices traveled to end up in my bread, how expensive they would have been a mere few generations prior.  They would have evoked lands unknown, having traveled from one merchant to another until the point of origin was mere legend.  Today, most of those spices still come from India and surrounding islands.  The pumpkin, like so many gourds and squashes, is a North American native, but has flourished well in Europe.  We must have common pollinators – so many Spanish treasures lost their value when they proved easy to grow in the Old World.  The green tea, like the spices, comes from Asia.  And the sugar for my tea and bread was cane sugar, which likely came from the Southern U.S., but in the past would have come from the Caribbean.   My inexpensive breakfast was a miniature history of imperialism.  I was gulping down what once would have been seen as treasure as though it was what it was – a cheap mid morning snack to get me through the remaining hours of math class.  Imagine.

I like that about my math class.  So much of math is about connections and pattern recognition, and once I’m in that mindset, it takes a little while to turn it off.  I keep seeing new ways of looking at my life, and I like it.

After class, I took BART to my stop, about a mile from home, and since it was a gorgeous day, I walked.  My brain was still humming, and I decided to apply it to knitting for a while.  I’m still thinking a lot about the subject of knitting classes and design, and the relation between the two.  The comments on my post were really interesting, and I’ve been reading some of the many other blog posts on the subject.  I think, like so many subjects, there’s not really so much disagreement as there are shades of opinion that amount to approximately the same thing.  I think we can all agree that licenses should be honored and that designers and shops need to be aware of licensing rules, and that designers should be credited for their work.

Anyway, the conclusion I’ve been led to is in some ways a little depressing, but it’s that to avoid abuse, the best thing to do is to charge for patterns in the first place.  I’m not sure where the rule originates, but I remember, even from childhood on, hearing that one should never offer kittens or puppies for free, even if you want to be rid of them, because putting even a miniscule price on them tends to weed out the cranks and villains.  People who want to misuse something also don’t want to pay for it.  Of course there are people who will misuse paid material as well, but even a token price tag will help deter the folks who really are unscrupulous.  This doesn’t solve the whole problem, but until unscrupulous behavior ceases entirely, there will be problems that will arise.

I’m sorry for the lack of pictures in this entry.  It’s not for lack of projects, but the only one I’ve actually photographed recently is one of those secret projects, which is a shame, as it’s also the only work I’ve done for Project Spectrum.  You’ll see it soon, though!

2 Responses to “I love my math class”

  1. CanarySanctuary Says:

    What a fantastic post!
    I hear ya about “offering puppies for free”. I’ve heard the same thing throughout my life, and truly wouldn’t be surprised if that nugget o’ wisdom is true more often than not. (rather sadly)

    In the same vein, people will take things for free – just because they’re free. Did I need the cheap plastic ice cream scoop from the Humanities Society at my Uni’s Frosh Week? Or that flexi-frisbee? No, but they were free! Humans are an interesting bunch 🙂

  2. Emily Says:

    Great post. It vividly evoked for me the memory of that brain-expanding, connection-making feeling that I used to get from being in class. Sometimes I really miss school! I guess those of us who can manage to continue challenging ourselves in diverse ways are very lucky.

    I kept meaning to comment on your licensing/designer post, and never got around to it. But I think you’re right: there are shades of opinion within basic agreement. Sometimes people get so carried away arguing minute gradations of meaning that they lose sight of the larger commonalities.

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