I chose to buy some new pants while in the USA. I used to wear Levis, so that was the first stop on my shopping trip in Folsom, a city near Sacramento, California.
A pleasant young woman was ready to help me. I was to choose between Levis with zippers, or with buttons.
I thought about the cold Danish winters, and how my hands didn’t always want to cooperate at those important moments. Zippers it was!
The next thing was the length. I usually purchased Length 36. There were only 2 pairs in the store.
“Not a common item, Sir”. she replied.
There must be other people than just me, who would want that length?
“They probably buy them online”, she replied as she placed the 2 pairs into the bag.
“What about shrinkage?” I asked, knowing that I wouldn’t be washing them until I returned to Denmark.
“They will shrink by 1/4 of an inch”, was her reply.
“What is that in millimeters?” I asked, cleverly.
“I haven’t the foggiest idea, Sir” she replied, without blinking.
(Let’s see. An inch is 25.4 millimeters. 1/4 of that is about 6mm)
I held my fingers together, so my sister could see, how big/small 6mm was.
“Yes”, she replied. “That is 1/4 of an inch.”
I could honestly not remember what an inch looked like, let alone 1/4 of one.
It was a hot day, which was noticeable when we left the air-conditioned shop for the heat of the day. My iPhone showed the temperature: 27degrees. My sister just looked funny at that. “No matter, I can change to Fahrenheit if necessary, but it wasn’t necessary, you see.” It was just the me who used to know about inches, degrees and miles, but has forgotten them for that other archaic way of measuring things – the Metric System.
Soon we would be going home again. Home in California, that is. Traveling by car counting the miles, while the clock only told about 12 hours at a time. “Military Time?” My sister asked. It’s mainly only the military and hospitals that use the 24-hour clock (and the rest of the old world, I would’ve added). We had enough Gallons of Gas to get us there, and my brother in-law couldn’t have told me how many kilometers per liter his car got, but then who cares about that anyway?
No matter. I had my 2 pairs of pants, length 36 with me while the miles/kilometers raced away. The shopkeeper was in her bliss of the American Way of doing things, while I was just an American/-Dane, being a bit displaced for the duration of my 3-week vacation.
Sweet Dreams, I thought. Just in English, which I knew they were for a fact, as they usually were in Danish……