Monday, August 1, 2011

My Inability to Esitmate Measurements

If you want to see something funny someday you should ask me to how long something is, or how far it is to a certain point in the distance. I've never been able to do this and am usually WAY off.

I've been meaning to write this entry since July 4th when my sister and I were playing Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. While playing there was a question that asked what the proper measurements of a certain room were. The question was an estimate question and I horribly bombed it. This reminded me of all the questions in elementary school that had has estimating measurements. I relearned what I learned in elementary school last month and this is I can't estimate.

I have a videographic mind but I can't do distances. When need be, when someone asks how far something is, the only option I have is to visualize myself laying down and doing that in 6ft increments. This is a crude way of doing it and often times I am way off.

How bad am I at this? Without a ruler in front of me I could not tell you how long a foot is; and don't get me started on what a meter is. The odd thing about this is that I have used rulers and have seen it pointed out, but I still have no ability to see those distances.

When someone says, when giving directions, "Yeah, pass road X and then your road is 1,000 feet on the left." 1,000 feet? Just how far is that? Giving me those type of directions is a one-way ticket to me ending up 1,000 miles from where I need to be.

This problem also hinders my ability to use any sort of tool that has a number in it. Whether it is a 5/16ths or a 3/8ths I am clueless.

Why is there is problem? I am not sure although I am confident there are people on the spectrum that can estimate with precision, but for me I have no skill in it. Perhaps the issue is that I need to know the right answer. Then again, when driving, sometimes I try to measure just how far a quarter, or half mile is in front of me and even then I am way off.

I can remember watching the NCAA Final Four back in 1991 and the announcer made a call that, "And the player takes the shot from 17ft out." and this made me angry. How did he know it was 17ft shot? I mean, the court isn't as precise as a football field with markers everywhere.

So this is just something I wanted to describe. It's something that I know I struggle with and I'm sure there are others not on the spectrum that struggle just the same. I just find it so odd though because I can visualize in my mind the environments I'm in to great detail, except when it comes to distances/measurements.


  1. You'd be correct in saying that others not on the spectrum struggle at estimating distances and measurements because I am truly hopeless.

  2. I have exactly the same problem. We did the lesson about estimating measurements in elementery school classically. So the teacher would ask me 'About how far is it from your home to our school?' and I would be totally off. I think I said 2 km (we have the metric system) and then got laughed at by the whole class. They told me it must be about 0.5 km or something. My teacher wanted to teach me to estimate measurements better, so he asked me more of these kind of questions. I wish he would've seen he was just torturing me by having me get laughed at a lot...
    Only thing I learned were those exact measurements. I still can't estimate distances.
    Also, how are you with estimating ages? I'm usually waaayyyy off...

  3. Ages? I am usually a decade off.

  4. It is 15 feet from the free throw line to the basket and the three point line is 19 feet and some odd inches. So anything between the free throw line and the three point line can be any number between 15 and 19 feet. 17 feet is as good an estimate as any.

  5. With an impatient father telling me how EASY maths was, I used to pretend I understood what he was saying. Just to get him off my back. Pretty sure people can tell by my blank face these days.