Saturday, April 4, 2015

The probability of pumpkins

Currently M. Lee is putting together our next trip. We'll be gone at least five months so it's a rather complicated itinerary. Besides juggling travel times and ticket prices, he has to find and rent airbnb apartments in nine different cities in seven different countries. He begins each city by researching neighborhoods and setting some basic parameters like price range, dates, keywords etc. Then he enters the labyrinth.

 Finding the middle path...

Source

....that is the goal.


He studies the photos, reads the reviews, google-walks the streets, checks access to public transportation, finds the supermarkets, farmer's markets, parks, museums etc. etc. We stay at least a month in some of these places so these things matter. It's hard on him but I will say this. He comes up with some kick ass plans. He began researching for this trip in January, right after we got home from Thailand. Thus far he claims to have studied over 3000 apartments. Once he does narrow it down to his top picks, he corresponds with the owners because, of course, we always have questions .... bed size, they never mention bed size, internet speeds, noise factor, kitchen, laundry and so on. What they do say is cozy. They all say cozy as though cozy says it all and is all anyone needs to know about anything. That word is now blacklisted around here. And don't sneak it into the conversation as acogedor, douillet or gemütlich. In any language, cozy is still very annoying.

And finally, after all that, we go over the best of picks together and settle on our favorites. Then, and only then, he makes an offer. Sometimes it's accepted, sometimes not. There may be more negotiation, if not, it's back to the list. Only Paris remains on the table but we won't be there until September so it can wait. I want to write, "Paris can wait". It's satisfying to be dismissive of Paris as Paris is so full of itself, but that would mean using the word Paris twice in the same sentence which, to my way of thinking, is somewhat clumsy and a bit obvious so I went with the word it which, perhaps, is even a bit more dismissive of Paris and, even though I like Paris (M. hates it), I like that because, like I said, Paris is full of itself. That sentence, you might notice, is an homage to my new favorite comedian Stewart Lee. But I digress. We leave in a month. The house sitter would be happy if we left tomorrow, but there is so very much to do between now and then.

In mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them."
- John von Neumann




3 comments:

Roy said...

The statistics diagram made my head hurt because it made me think to myself, as so many things do, "did I used to know this??.

Hope everything comes up pumpkins.

Roy said...

Of course that was a probability diagram, not a statistics diagram, increasing the likelihood of the truth of my never having fully known any of it.

asha said...

Not to worry. We've all known how to calculate the probability of pumpkins since our childhood days in the pumpkin patch.