Physics

A big part of growing up for me was fully understanding that physics applied to me. Yanking something, while satistfying at the moment, would either mean it would break or I would tumble backwards when it was freed. If I heard something tear when I was yanking clothes on or off, that meant that something had torn, not just that a sound had emerged sui generis from the fabric. I still somehow think that if I really willed it I could defy physics, as evidenced by a recent vehicular journey with flowers in a jar of water or my constant struggles to keep boxes on a cart while navigating bumpy brick pathways. I have to regularly remind myself not to underestimate physics, for it will have the final revenge on me.

Most of us rarely think of the physics of cars, beyond stop, go, turn. But as they barrel forward, cars push the air in front of them out of the way and make it rush over and downwards towards the space created in the back. These drafts can be very powerful.

I was driving down to Camden for a work event, cruising on the highway, when I saw a bird (robin? Pigeon? Definitely didn’t get a good look), fly across the highway. The doomed bird didn’t fly high enough – all I saw was a severed wing come over the back of the sport vehicle. Was that from a direct collision with the car? Was that just the shearing force of the air from getting yanked upwards? Did the driver even notice?

I personally have been upset at failures while driving to dodge butterflies, so this has been nagging at me, the image of a grayish medium-size wing tumbling to the asphalt.

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