[perennial blog post to let everyone know I am Alive and Well and Overcaffeinated Per Usual!!]
I am about to commit treason to my literary kind: numbers fascinate me. The fact that math is an entire art based on the assumption of rules to be true is endlessly compelling. That you can use symbols that someone assigned meaning in some sort of code to quantify and calculate divisions of your life? Ridiculous. Crazy. Absolute certitude of how many days I have been alive (at the time of writing this, 8599), inches of rain fallen today (in Scotland right now, 3.4 with the conversion from centimeters), number of index cards sitting on my desk (94). And then people take these certitudes and combine them to establish larger averages of certitudes in an insane amount of ways!
How many hairs on my head: 90,000 (brunettes, 140,000; blondes, 110,000)! How many miles I’ll walk in my lifetime: 110,000! How many questions it takes to fall in love: 36! (or so they say, whoever the elusive “they” is.)
But how do we arrive at certitude? By arriving at the same certitude as someone else and deciding we must both be correct. Thus I contend, to any number-lover who tells me that they like math because it is black and white and not the shades of gray that words are, there is no difference. Numbers are like stories; established, tried, tested against time. These rules and theorems that create your number laws come from the same place that words do: the repetition of stories over millennia.