Arthur Winsome appreciated precision. He got up at 6:30 and 54 seconds, as he did each morning. He’d woken up at 6:30 and 30 seconds in the past, but he found the extra time asleep gave him more energy. He made this discovery drenched in guilt, after sleeping in one Saturday. His days were planned immaculately, accounting for traffic, unexpected interactions, and potential burned-out light bulbs. He was accustomed to three squares a day, that is, he used three squares of toilet paper daily.
Arthur pulled into his workplace’s parking lot and hit stop on his timer. 15.32 minutes, 6 ¼ miles. It was his third trip from home to work that morning. On his first trip, he had to brake for a squirrel crossing the street, easily adding 45 seconds onto his total time. The he hit five red lights on his second trip, surpassing the 3.2 to which he was accustomed. On Arthur’s third trip, he made it through conditions statistically insignificant enough to consider the time worthy of his data log.
Arthur stepped out of the car and reached for his coffee mug, which was conspicuously absent from the cup holder. Panicking, Arthur did some quick math in his head. The weight of the Thermos probably wouldn’t have affected his travel time. But what if it had spilled? What if the sun had caught the metal in such a way that Arthur couldn’t see, and had to slow down? This had to be accounted for.
Arthur got back in the car and headed home to retry for a fourth time. He was still 40 minutes early for work.