Monday, February 1, 2010

I Should've Numbered All My Posts

I like numbering things. It's so exact. And everything is so definitely pinpointed when it's numbered.

But sometimes I don't like the numbering process that much. And maybe for the same reason -- it can bother me when everything is so definitely pinpointed.

I can get a slight mental tremor when it comes to numbering and ordering things. Especially if I'm moderately queasy, like I am tonight. I can feel the edges of it and don't really want to provoke it. It's when you don't want to provoke some mental tremor that they like to do their thing on their own. So it's tough to win.

I'll say it -- I've said it before. Somewhere. This feels strange. Say I'm trying to order a series of cards. As an example, say I have a series of 25 cards here, in random order. And they need to be ordered. You find the first one, you find the second, the third, the fourth. At some point here you're going to come to the point of no return. That point can trigger the tremor, a feeling that builds on itself apparently because it is so definite, so ordered, and will be accomplished.

Not a good explanation, I know, but it can't be explained.

Let's get it away from me and this strange hangup. The numbering of things makes things very convenient. Say you had a stack of a monthly magazine, from 1950-1960. There's Volume 1, Number 1. Then all of Volume 1. Then Volume 2, Number 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. It's all very definite. If you're missing one, that's a hangup, so you make a mental note that it's not there. It screws up the numbering, but most collections have at least one problem.

The good thing about the numbering is you know exactly what you have and what you're missing.

The bad thing about it being so definite is ... there's no spontaneity. What is known is known and there's nothing to discover. Each page is also numbered. No one's able to slip in anything. A magical page that just appears and you're transfixed. No, if the Lucky Strikes cigarette company advertised on page 5 of Volume 1, Number 8, it's going to be there till doomsday.

I was numbering some things today. They were automatically numbered by my scanner. Then I noticed I needed to insert some other pages that got missed. Because sometimes if the pages used to have a staple, the little paper jags catch on one another and the scanner takes more than one sheet. So I had to manually insert a few pages without wanting to change the numbers on all the other files. Meaning I ended up with files called 18a and 18b. It's still definite, but it's sneaking new files in, because there's no definite number between 17 and 19 except 18.

When I'm looking for a page in a magazine, I like them all to be numbered. Sometimes they're not. I don't like that. In a way it's refreshing, for the reasons above, it makes it less definite and therefore less predictable. But even if they're not numbered, you could still figure out what their number would have been.

It's probably good that I didn't number my posts. There is a definite number. But they're not all equal. And for all I know there might be a few false starts in the mix.

Those are some of my thoughts on numbers.

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