[…] gyroscope |ˈjīrəˌskōp|noun a device consisting of a wheel or disk mounted so that it can spin rapidly about an axis that is itself free to alter in direction. The orientation of the axis is not affected by tilting of the mounting; so gyroscopes can be used to provide stability or maintain a reference direction in navigation systems, automatic pilots, and stabilizers. […]
I was never one of those kids who raced around bomber-style on bikes, scattering birds and grasshoppers, or who spun madly in circles, human gyroscopes, until dizziness heaped them, laughing, onto the dirt. My brothers were– roaming in shapeless packs of boys, chucking rocks at the sky, erecting impossible sled jumps, lifting hood ornaments, trailing noise and destruction in their wake. I preferred the stillness of leaning into the rough wind on the edge of the cliff jutting into our back cove, or the quiet of reading in the beech tree’s high branches, undetected, unfettered, alone.
Gyroscope: it all comes down to the principle of the conservation of angular momentum, and I’m back, once again, to recalling that physics class of junior year. It met during A block (first period Monday, last Tuesday, second Thursday). Funny how I remember when the class took place, that the room was drafty, that students climbing the staircase outside the room were visible through the glass window in the green door, but couldn’t tell you a thing about angular momentum. Gravity I remember, and inertia, but not this. Let’s just hope I never have to design a missile’s stabilizing device.
I have never touched a gyroscope. I have, however, been strapped inside the center of a gigantic gyroscope. The object, modeled after the original small device, let me spin in any direction of the third dimension. The base remained steady and I whirled and twirled in the middle. Nauseous, I dismounted the machine and saw the long wooden floor boards detach from their rooting and rise to strike me on the head. Out.
I awake eight seconds later, the little white poodle sniffs me, the cameraman smiles, holds thumbs up. I did a good job. Independent movies are so weird.
I spent about an hour today, in bits and pieces, talking about gyroscopes. First in class, when Alex and Alex informed me that my childhood had been incomplete without a gyroscopic thing. Then, at the dorm where a friend actually took the wheel off of his bicycle to demonstrate gyroscopic motion. I got a physics lesson from a neighbor. I co-looked gyroscopes up on Wikipedia with someone else. It seems that everyone has a better idea of this than I do. And they’re all willing to share. I’m definitely going to get some sort of gyroscopic thing for my kid.
Where am i? Where am i? What is this? Where are we? Where are we going? Where are you taking me? What’s going on? What’s that? Hold on. What?! No! No way! You did what?! Why? With who? How did that happen?! What were you thinking? What are you thinking? How could you do that? When? When did this all go on? Without me? Why? How is that possible? What are you doing now? Where? Where’s that? Why are you going? Where are you going? With me? Where are we going? Where are we? What is this? Where am i?
^^ I have no idea what this is, it just kinda happened.
I have seen a gyroscope, maybe on TV but I never bothered to catch the name. I have seen something else that is pretty similarly cool when I was heading back home for fall break. I was flying and as I hated the duration of the flight, I figured to preoccupy myself with whatever was available. In front of me and next to seat cushion was the SkyMall magazine. It had some pretty cool toys; one of the toys was Galileo Gravitator. It is a gold metal with a floating and spinning planet on the center of it, which glows in the dark. I wanted one; one with Saturn in the middle.
A gyroscope is a wheel that never falls so long as it’s spinning. It has an impeccable sense of balance.
I am not a gyroscope. I fall up stairs and walk into door frames. My boyfriend should stop trying to dip me because I always end up falling backwards and almost killing the both of us. It’s an invitation for hospitalized romance.
If I were a gyroscope I would walk the edge of roofs. I’d try the highest point of Hepburn facing the church first. The wind would aid me in my movement- cutting along the edge of the gutter.
I remember fairs at my elementary school. They took place on our field, a depressed piece of earth surrounded by steep, grassy hills. Two baseball diamonds sat in opposition to each other, the closer one better. I remember the tall velcro wall, the dip your friend in water by throwing a ball at a circular lever game, the cotton candy – blue, red, pink, and I remember the human gyroscope. I remember being younger. I remember wanting to be older so I could go in the gyroscope, spinning people fast in every direction. I wanted to be older, to be cool.
I think I had a gyroscope when I was nine. You could spin it like a top. The weight of its metal discs would be thrown around, keeping the curious object upright in its trajectory. You spin it. Watch it fall of the edge of a desk then spin it again. And again. And again. I’m not sure I could explain the physics of a gyroscope, nor am I sure I was nine when I had one. I could have been 6. I could have been 13. I remember hearing it whiz and slip off the wood, into my palms.
Walking down the broad halls in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where airplanes and shuttles times heavier and bigger than me ominously hang above my head, I reach a fancy metallic object encapsulated in a glass box. An axis embraced by intertwining wheels. Getting a bit edgy as I always do when there is something I do not understand, I activate all of my senses in a frenzied search of a clue, of an explanation. “Gyroscope” the sign reads and I am reminded of a physics class in which I fiddled raptly with a simpler and smaller gyroscope.
It is not that I don’t like coincidences, it is just that I don’t believe in the concept of the accidental concurrence, or in the it-wasn’t-meant-to-happen-but-it-did factor. I will pull yet another mathematical argument out of the bag and explain that the chances of a specific happening happening, — considering all the possible combinations of things that can actually happen — is virtually zero. So, obviously and with absolute logic, coincidences are the same as anything else. But putting theory aside, they’re extra special because they’re surprising, like a gyroscope’s stable spinning on the tip of a pen.
A friend once told me that lives are like pendulums – we are all just swinging on a line. And it doesn’t really matter if something is right for someone because its all really a matter of time; a matter of pendulums being in-line. I am not sure if he is right but its sort of nice to think about. Maybe when things don’t work out its just a matter of your pendulum being out of line with what you thought was right. For a perfectionist, its sort of comforting to think that our lives are determined by pendulums swinging on a line.
[…] is something about being raised on horseback, coming from the greatest horse-people in the world, gyroscopic blood. Raised Wooden saddles, floating inches above the horseback; short stirrups, tied together […]