** #PE ** #PL ** Skok w ramiona. Miary długości. Let’s measure the distances! Yet, let us be ready to face a mess the humanity started creating thousands of years ago. A mess that continues into our era.
Almost everybody among our planet’s 7-billion population knows there are miles and miles, and a mile is not equal to a mile. Fortunately, the only two miles being massively used now are relatively similar, and two is so much less than two dozen different miles used over the past three millennia. Yet, the majority of the contemporary Earth humans, given a distance in miles, be it English or Nautical, will have no idea how far, or close, it is. The same with feet: its actual meaning is hardly known, and popular wisdom may get you very wrong given the fact that shoes are produced in so many different sizes.
Are kilometers better? Hardly. Officially used in most of the world, in real life are not so fully adopted. While one kilometer is meant to be 1,000 meters, people still tend to consider it to be 1,000 single paces, as opposed to the mile seen as 1,000 double paces. Obviously, both methods produce different, unpredictable, and erroneous results.
This is however still more precise than “the stretch of the arms of an adult man”, the basis for measuring distance in the past in some countries, including the Tsars’ Russia. And while it is hard to find any proof, the Polish Wikipedia claims there was a measure of a “jump” in my country, meaning the distance an average man can reach with a standing jump (allegedly appx. 1,5 meters). And what about jumping into someone’s arms?
So, is there a way of measuring the distance that really rules the world? Sure there is. While it has all the different names in all countries, it spells the same. I particularly love the Polish phrase “Rzut Beretem” (Stone’s Throw, literally Beret’s Throw). Whenever you are away from home and try to find your way to a certain place, if Auntie Google Maps gave up due to inaccurate data – you are highly unlikely to hear “It’s far away”. In most cases, you’re going to hear: “Oh, you are almost there. Just a Stone’s Throw”.
Rzut Beretem may spell whatever from 50 meters (next block, next street) to 500 miles (“you both live in California, a Stone’s Throw”). Soon, it might mean “I travel within our Earth, not into space, it won’t take long”. Eventually, we shall all switch to a distance measure which is already often in use: the time. Time of air travel, railway or bus ride, car drive. And yes, I back this solution as a convenient replacement to distance measures that make you dizzy before you even start your journey.