The importance of remembering parity in a back-and-forth race on your flying bicycle

Raymond Chen

I dreamed that one of my friends had made the U.S. cycling team. (Perhaps because everybody else got busted for doping.) Even more implausibly, I also made the team.

To celebrate, he challenged me to a short race. The path ran along a river, in which a medium-sized boat was setting sail. Our bicycles somehow could fly (which we considered perfectly normal) and we were flying over the boat, just about keeping pace with it.

The boat reversed direction many times, and we reversed along with it. At one of the reversals, I thought, “I could take a shortcut if I kept going straight,” but I must’ve lost even/odd count because I flew off the boat… heading back to the starting line.

Bonus weirdness: For some reason, we were in Sweden, and the race commentator saw a school labeled Gymnasium and made some remark about repurposing buildings left over from the Olympics.


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