I’m wondering about the expression “turning on a dime.”
It came to mind recently and then again the other day.
First it was when my dad had a bird hit his shoulder and then drop dead. We were at the windmill with him again last week, showing him how it now works. Then this bird fell at his feet. He says it is the first time that’s ever happened to him.
He asked why I was taking a photo of the bird. I wasn’t sure why, either. (You can click on this photo to see it larger, if you are curious. No pressure.)
He was happy when he came out of the windmill that it was no longer there. I didn’t tell him that the wind pushed it to the next step.
What you don’t see won’t spook you.
The fact is that it most likely hit one of the blades of the mill and then hit him on the way down. The fact is that it probably happens often, but not with my father.
Last time we were there, the inside was not open. Somehow seeing up to the top made it feel even more powerful.
I think powerful is the operable word here. Or lack of it.
Two days ago, a woman from our community was killed in a car crash. A young woman, younger than me, leaving a husband and son. And many friends and relatives in a state of shock.
So the phrase comes up. Life can change on a dime.
So what does it mean?
Here is a plausible explanation and source:
The expression “can turn on a dime” means “has a very tight turning radius“. A dime is a very small American coin, 17.91 mm diameter. In this expression, it illustrates just how small the turning radius is. (A tight or small turning radius is an advantage in handling a car.)
By extension, anything that can “turn on a dime” can make a radical change in direction very quickly.
Yes, this is the power of the phrase. And how fragile it all is.