By Dora A. Ayora Talavera | @DoraAyora
We acquire some habits during our lives without noticing how and when we make them ours. These customs are not necessarily useful but we have them. In my case, for example, I have developed the ability to count things, I sometimes do this as a hobby, for curiosity and other times as part of an investigative action.
I count things wherever I go; while I am driving I can count “yellow Volkswagen sedan” or just cars with the same colour. I could not guess how many people have the same car than me.
When I travel, it is very interesting to know how many sits the plane has, the bus, or how many coaches a train has. How many suitcases are from the same brand than mine and how many have the same colour.
Buildings are amazing, they have lots of windows to count, how many are opened or closed, and how many have curtains, lights on or some ornament to enjoy.
If you participate in a Congress you can be surprised on how many nationalities can be together in the same place, how many different continents we come from and how many languages we can speak; even the common counting about how many men and women we are.
Long waits in rooms are the perfect excuse to count light bulbs, lamps, different kinds of chairs and amount of people in transit through these spaces and corridors. Also they are a good excuse to count the frequency of words, letters in pamphlets or advertisements that are in my visual field, it is worth recognising that lately I have noticed it a bit diminished.
I have counted how many members the choir, orchestra and viewers in the performance of the Ninth Choral Symphony of Beethoven has, as well the number of dancers that the Swan Lake has and how many people go to the theatre not wearing a black coat.
In the classroom, while students are working, I use to count how many of them are using jeans, short pants and skirts and how many different kinds of fabrics they are made from. I take into a count how many of the students wear sandals, tennis shoes and formal shoes. If a colour in a blouse or a T-shirt is more frequent I count how many different prints and full colours they have.
Though I enjoy counting things, good manners indicate me that I never must count how many tacos someone eats or how many beers he drinks, that does not look good!
I have made sad counts, when you say good bye and you know that this farewell has embed time… a year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, and multiply by 3, 4 or 5 they become your existence.
I also count life stuff. I have 17 years counting, every 15th of April, the first time that my daughter Ana stood up by herself in her bed. I count the anniversaries of my surgeries, my lost toenail, my kidney stone, the death of my father, the accident of my mother; my first check and of course my van’s anniversary.
Three years ago I started my own counting, just because I wanted, since the 4th of December of 2011, I count days. Every morning in my notebook I write the date and the number of that day, I have counted 1248 days, I can say, days of happiness, because they are full of a special consciousness about my life, my joy and my desire to be fine.
Counting things is absolutely useless, but it entertains me. It amazes me what I discover and it wonder me that always there is something new to count. Then, to count is a way to say who you are, where you have been, what you have seen; numbers and counts become a witness of your life and that is what makes a useful habit in a record about you, and then counting with numbers become a way to confess, to narrate yourself numerically, it is not an innocent counting about who you are.
From my side I want to continue counting, full notebooks with numbers to have a quantified record about what I live, to report myself by figures and narrate myself by digits.