• Rachel

I wish I'd been this quick at mental maths when it actually mattered in school

I used to dread those mental maths tests we were given at school. The recorded ones that gave you a certain number of seconds to get to the answer before moving on to the next question. I wasn't ever bad at maths...I just wasn't good at doing it in my head. Who needs be to anyway, though? That's what your phone calculator is for, right?

Right. But have you ever been in a social situation where you've needed to very, very quickly calculate the number of calories in something without drawing attention to yourself or risking seeming like an absolute anorak? Or needed to re-calculate the weights and calories on a packet of something in a supermarket during a pandemic, when it is unacceptable to stand for too long in one place, because you need to suddenly be two metres away to let someone else grab a tin of baked beans to avoid social slaughter...

Okay, I suppose I’ve never needed to either. But the alternative: a mental onslaught from the woman upstairs, wandering around the supermarket another ten times, and then leaving with nothing to avoid ending up in a tearful heap in the middle of the chilled section...most of the time I’ve opted for exercising my mental arithmetic. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat.....more like calculate, measure, worry, re-count, re-measure, eat, feel guilty, do a crossword to distract myself, try and sleep, fail to sleep because my mind is just so full of numbers and figures and planning and calculating and over-thinking, eventually sleep, wake at 5am thinking about breakfast, repeat.....

Maths is a valuable life skill, they said. I hope they didn’t mean it like this.


"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counsellor?" ~ Isaiah 40:12-13

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