At first when I thought about the theme of today’s Photohunt, I was a little stymied. I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to find something to photograph that would demonstrate such an esoteric concept.
I thought about taking a picture of my house number, and wax philosophical about how we have increased our numbers to the point where our houses must be numbered in order for us to be found. I think back into past centuries where houses had names, and a letter was directed to Joe Blow in Anytown, Northern Territories, and it would eventually arrive.
Then I thought about how we are now defined by numbers: our driver’s license number, our social security number, our phone number. It isn’t enough for us to have our names, there must be a nine or ten digit number to describe us.
Then I looked at my date book.
All the days in numerical order, the hours in their serried ranks at the edges of each date. Long ago, before mankind had invented numbers, our kind did not need date books. We lived according to the seasons, and counted time by the phases of the moon rather than arbitrarily assigning Names and Numbers to the days of our lives. I even know people who have their watches set to make a signal every hour on the hour. When their watches make their noises, I think about how their hours are numbered. I’m not sure I want to have every passing moment brought to my attention that way.
Of course, as you can see from the above photograph, I have never really become totally comfortable with the electronic and digital age. I doubt if I will ever graduate to a PDA, or even keep my schedule on the calendar of a computer or cell phone. I like the physicality of writing things down. It pleases me to look at my date book and see the time that Jim and I had scheduled for celebrating our anniversary so thoroughly blocked out, a visual reference that was there for several weeks, every time I looked at that page in the date book, anticipation and pleasure coursing through my being.
And it also gives me pleasure to cross things out emphatically when appointments get changed, or to underline important tasks. Somehow, putting a digital star or an exclamation point, or prioritizing the list (as Franklin Covey urges you to do) just doesn’t have the same oomph.
Now, go off and visit some other enumerators. I’m going to walk my dog.