Number Cloud

Dear J-

At times I wonder if the other train riders think I’m writing about them. I won’t go into detail about them in a Harriet-the-Spy-like speculation on habits or observational clues except to say this: there are regular riders, who I’ll see every day, rain or shine, and others, who show up once in a while, and still others who, like the proverbial ships in the night, I’ve only seen once. I’m not sure what separates some from others aside from schedule and happenstance, but I’m cheered by the regulars and have regular literal nodding acquaintance relationships with them, like some titanic bobblehead convention. Hey. How’s the day today? Catch the Giants game last night? How about those Sharks?

At times I find myself idly speculating if social customs are because it’s inherent in my nature, if it was taught, or if I’m some sort of flesh-and-blood machine programmed with a thin veneer of societal norms (as I put on the headphones and tune everything else out). I’ve spent the last few weeks, it seems, immersed in the world of spreadsheets and numbers, either pushing the numbers to do my bidding (march! transform! correlate!) or getting pushed around by the numbers (when I have to work with other people … ask questions … interact), which lends some credence to following the third theory. Think of my self-perception as being akin to a proto-Nexus unit from Blade Runner: something not quite right there.

I do recognize the conductors, but that’s much easier on me than it is on them, as I have a handful of faces to see on the two regular trains I take (102 and 261, or 267 if I’m running late). I may not know their names but I have enough training to be friendly. Thank goodness for that much, at least. There will be plenty of other things to do once I get to work, so I can concentrate on the task of being human, and pleasant, and not so self-involved with challenges I’ve thrown up for myself. Now forward march, onward, upward, higher. Motivation is a good tool but not so useful as distraction; I do adore the beat of numbers and the look of a good curve fit, though. Meanwhile … elsewhere … hmm; there’s many points of comparison, aren’t there? (spreadsheets from all over crowd in on my head)



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