Three Degrees

Three degrees can be a lot, and not much. It can be a shrug or a killer, self-actualization achieved, or another day of determined trying, the perfect puffed pastry crust and advancement to the next round with a handshake from Paul, or dead last, saying good-bye.

Three degrees further north, and you’ve entered another world. That can be huge. North Korea and South Korea. Not the countries’ real names, but their nicknames. You probably recognized them. Three degrees off the tip of southern Florida, and you better be airborne, on a boat or a platform, or you’re in a watery situation.

At 42 degrees north, you can be on the California – Oregon border. Three degrees south and your taxes are much greater, along with the costs of real estate, the average income, and the likelihood that you’re a college graduate and are more liberal. At 120 west, you’re on the California – Nevada border, if you’re north of 39 degrees latitude but still south of 42 degrees, and the differences those two states embody. South of those coordinates, and you’re still in California at 120 degrees west, all the way down to Santa Barbara, where you enter the ocean.

Three degrees of effort, luck and success is sometimes the difference between being average, good, and great – between winning a gold medal and being back in the pack – or average, fair and poor. Same could be in the degree of decorating taste. One person’s stripped zebra rug and red walls is another person’s horror. It’s a matter of degrees.

Three degrees was the difference in the high between Tuesday and Wednesday at my house. Tuesday reached 96. Wednesday, cooler, at 93. What a difference it felt. 93, with a light breeze, offered comfort in the shade. 96’s shade was a brick oven’s shade. Today is forecast to mock them both, at 103 F. We’ll see if that three degrees over 100 is realized, or felt.

Three Degrees is a good but not fabulous Oregon Pinot Noir. Supposed to have won some awards but would not win them from me. Different tastes, and all that.


Three Degrees is also a Portland restaurant. They don’t explain where the three degrees come in, but they mention food, drink and people. Or is it because they’re now between six degrees of separation, right in the middle of a chain, between a friend of a friend of a friend?

Three degrees is half of the six degrees of freedom, which is about movement, and not personal freedoms. But if you think about it, we can apply the six degrees of freedom to personal and political freedoms and develop an analogy to six degrees of freedom in mechanical motion.

Or anything else. I’m writing about degrees here, and what differences they do and do not make, and how arbitrary they sometimes seem, and yet what an impact they can have. Your thoughts on it may depend upon your degree of interest.

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