i know, dear reader, still on the scientific trail - what on earth is the matter with me? Last week, gravitational waves and now this. Well it's not my fault, it's my friend, Rachelle Antoinette. She is an abstract artist, (check out her website www.rachelleantoinette/abstract-art-gallery) and artists, like writers, mull things over. So, there we were, the two of us, sitting by a roaring fire, enjoying late celebrations for my birthday - not at a late hour you understand, but a week after the event and as the contents of the wine bottle decreased, the musings about life increased proportionately. So after discussions on the mysterious appearance of red pepper seeds and rice grains, etc. in my kitchen, we moved on to the seeming randomness of events in life.
Rachelle is an intelligent, thoughtful lady, given like myself, to chewing the fat about life. Her musings feed into her art, but I'm not too sure how her thoughts on random distribution are going to translate into paint. Here's a f'r'instance. When her Dad cooks with cardamom pods and simply dishes up the dinner, Rachelle says the lions share of the pods always land up on her plate. Over the years, she has watched, eagle-eyed and can testify to the fairness with which her dear papa doles out the din-dins and yet, she could still bet her last copper-bottomed pound sterling, that more pods will land on her plate than his. There are various definitions of the laws of random or probability distribution, but having looked at a few my eyes are still rolling back in my head and I am no wiser. You try looking it up too, dear reader and then perhaps you can explain it all to me.
It's exactly the same with prawns, if we're still following 'Rachelle's law'. Her dear papa can produce the most exquisite fish pie on the planet, (no idle boast, believe me), containing prawns and she will always end up with the lion's share of the prawns contained therein. Yes, I know, lions probably don't eat prawns. But, there again, has anyone ever offered them some? I could be on to something there - a whole new world of research awaits. Anyway, coming back to prawns, how is it that the distribution is of such an unequal proportion between them? Her papa enjoys a prawn as much as the next man, so he's not going to shovel them all her way is he?
I too have been musing on this phenomena and have come up with muesli and sweets, possibly lollipops at pantomimes and there again, there are documents and lentils. Hang in there and I promise I will take you with me. Now, my dear reader - muesli. In my domestic goddess moments, I make up my own mix, (brownie points for me I think). In go the raisins, the almonds and the various other dried fruits and all are mixed together with flakes and oats, etc. Take note of that - well mixed together. I don't know why I add the almonds to the mix as I do not care for them, but spouse does. What I should do is put a small dish of them next to his breakfast plate so that he can help himself, but my morning self is never going to be so organised and I would forget, and so, if it is never going to happen, they might as well get bunged in the mix and guess what? Yes - correct, I always get the almonds and then have to transfer them to his dish before we even start. Random distribution? No, 'like flies to wanton boys the gods do play us.'
And what about lollipops at pantomimes or sweets chucked out to the audience, or teachers hurling sweets out to the class at the end of term. Random distribution it should be and yet and yet - there will always be some children who never in their entire lives field a sweet or a pantomime lollipop successfully. Not because they are smaller or less bold than their contemporaries - it is just the way it is.
Moving back to the adult world - have you attended one of those training days where the lecturer would stop at the end of each row of seats, count the number of bodies and dish out the corresponding number of papers? Or alternatively, he/she appoints a couple of 'class prefects' to dish the dibs out? So, in theory, all of the above should work out and everyone ends up the proud possessor of a factsheet. But my dear reader, this never happens and there are always people bobbing anxiously up and down looking for their copy and if the lecture has already started and references are being made to the sheet, those of us without look on blankly and you can bet your life that the geek sitting next to you studiously turns his/her back and avoids all eye contact so as to avoid sharing his/her sheet with you. Now you know for sure that I was always one of those who never had a sheet - I repeat - it's just the way it is and so I would creep quietly to the back of the room and collect a bunch of sheets. And this is the most annoying part of all - there are always, always, piles of pristine sheets sitting on the table at the back. Let's not go into the realms of didn't the lecturer count the number of people registered and the number of copies made beforehand? ... At this point I was always tempted to stand in the middle of the room and hurl the whole lot up in the air and let everyone fight for their copy, (there's random distribution for you), but I fought this urge and quietly handed out copies to the other poor students that were without.
Having got that one off my chest I'll just briefly mention lentils and the result of this random distribution is not entirely my fault. For once in my life I did what it said on the packet. My instinct said 'cut the top off the pack and gently pour contents into storage jar.' The suppliers said 'tear here'. So I did and with predictable results. Lentils shot up in the air and showered down everywhere. They are now randomly distributed over every work surface and floor tile in my kitchen. That will teach me to be a conformist. Let loose the rebel, that's what I say
So, after I've cleaned up the kitchen I'm off to cook up a storm for Sunday supper and who knows what I may randomly distribute into my pans as I cogitate upon this subject. Now, if I take out the first five items I come across in the refrigerator .....