Tuesday, April 10, 2007

By the Numbers

4:44 Too early.

5:16 Still too early?

6:14 Just get up.
When did I let that clock make me a puppet?


I can’t believe I’m still 53
When I should be getting younger.
Don't numbers ever go in reverse?

Dawn's early light from 93 million miles,
A trip of 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

My drive to work, 8 miles,
A trip of 20 minutes, 47 seconds.

63 Fahrenheit.

210, down 1 pound.

8 after 8 You’ll be late

Odometer 65,610
Oil change when?

35 mph
What’s sacred about 35?

School zone 20.

5 soldiers killed in Iraq.

3 Palestinians, including 1 child, killed by Israel.

63 dead in China coal mine.

211 11th Street

8:36 Six minutes late.

Prime rate 8.8

Blood pressure 128 over 88.

Dow down to 11,208.

IBM down 8.
Short seller buys a boat.
Conservative investor hangs on, waits to sell when IBM’s down another 10; delays purchase of boat.

10:30 appointment.
3 minutes early.

$4300 tax due. What’s new?

Sweet Sue goes off at 4 to 1, wins by 2 lengths.

Lunch 12 to 1
In real time 11:50 to 1:25.

GMT is my time plus 5, which means they’re starting home from work in London now.

Hamburger $4.95

Still so early?

Why wait?

5 to 6 Rush hour
Rush? It’s hardly moving.

$2.95 a gallon, total $35.50

Oil up 60 cents a barrel.

80 degrees.

10 mph wind.

Pool temperature 82. Very nice but not as nice as 86.

Oven temp 350 for 50 minutes.

8 TV

10:30 Too soon to be sleepy.

10:50 Fall asleep in chair anyway.

I’ll stumble along like a slave tied behind a cart
Until the numbers let me go.


  1. Fleming this was a very neat post! I'd been through the same thing myself, having flopped into bed at 8pm and then considered it too early to get up at 2:07. It's 4:27 now & I've been writing an hour.

    The power of numbers over our lives came out in all your examples, which had a kind of emotional aura.

    We can escape their magnetic influence only to fall into some other. At present in my manuscript I am considering the influence of shrubs and blossoms on my consciousness, and indeed wayside weeds. I may be a bit more botanical than most but my brain tends to interlock with anything and everything it encounters.

    So what is my point? "Slave" may be too strong a word, Fleming, unless you can paint the picture of how things will be when you are not enslaved to anything.

  2. Yves, I've been wondering how people would react to this post, and so I'm especially glad to get your comment.

    It's nice to know I'm not the only one who reacts that way to the clock in early morning.

    After I'd written the post I thought that it was unnecessarily pessimistic . . . as you illuminate in your last paragraph. There is choice involved as far as the importance of numbers in one's life is concerned, and I prefer to make numbers as insignificant as I can.

  3. I love readin' and 'riting, but am not enamoured by 'rithmetic.

    For some reason, in my mind -
    1+0= peace and quiet;
    1+1= silky skin and possible progeny;
    1+2= conflict resolution;
    2+2= a dinner party;

    and 10X20= too many.

    Strange, really, how the invention of the chronometer has multiplied the numbers in our lives. Vast numbers of numbers disappear if one lives on a bush block without a clock.

    When I lived on the boat, the only numbers that really concerned me were Depth, Nautical miles, Lat. and Long. Even the numerical equivalent of "wind speed" was irrelevant, as it could be "felt".

    These days am beset, besieged and almost overwhelmed by numbers - mostly the negative ones on my bank statement .. heh.

  4. Davo, I like your comment, especially since I have the same attitude toward 'rithmetic.

    I think that what you and Yves have written here is too interesting and creative to be buried in "Comments". Your comment is really a clever little essay that deserves to be published, but on the spur of the moment I don't know what to do about it.

  5. I keep trying to convince the bank manager that the only difference between 1 dollar and $1,000 is a whole heap of nothings, but haven't succeed yet. He keeps insisting that that sort of "nothing" is important .. if that makes sense ..

  6. numbers are a language.

    my number is one.




    though the one plus one concept has some appeal.......

  7. Alistair, I'm with you: Number 1 seems best, but I've always been drawn to 2.