I’m reading a book about Chile called Travels in a Thin Country by Sara Wheeler. No particular reason, I’m not planning a trip to Chile, I haven’t heard great things about Wheeler’s travel writing. No, it has just been sitting on my bookshelf for 10 years, half read and abandoned. So I am finishing it now.
Wheeler talks about a group of native Indians who are now extinct, wiped out by the actions of brutal and careless Europeans. So far, so depressingly familiar.
They had an extremely rich language, including a word for the feeling you get when you bite into something soft and your teeth hit something hard. I tried to make up a word in English for that feeling of biting into a oyster to find a pearl or a chomping down on a hamburger to find a thumb nail clipping. Squigdack? Murminct? Any other suggestions?
But given this richness, they had no words for numbers above three. I have three numbers to watch today, a meeting at 11 in Leicester Sq for a possible bit of freelance writing, an appointment at 3 in Blackfriars to register with an agency who have a part time job I’m interested in and finally dinner at 7 in Southwark with a friend. Phew.
I tried to imagine living a life with no numbers, no money, no debt, no appointments to be made or kept, no worrying about the big three oh, four oh, or any other oh. But I gave up because I didn’t want to be late for my meeting.
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