I’m in love!
So I had a long shift last week. I came into the sweatshop at half past two, so I could start working at three. I looked into the calendar to see who would be my partners that evening. The first one, T, was a guy I’d worked with before. I didn’t quite like him the first time I saw him. His English isn’t that good, so it’s hard for us to communicate; plus, he’s a bit creepy. T is in his late thirties and he’s a monkey in the line. I’m a sub-monkey, I just feed the machine. But monkeys push the buttons and pack the finished product, and boss us sub-monkeys around. I wasn’t really excited about working with him.
My other partner was some A, but not pronounced as we do it back home. She didn’t arrive until the very last minute before the shift started, so T and I were already at the machine. I could smell her before I saw her. She smelled like autumn, like cinnamon and pumpkin and sugar. Many girls at work overdo the perfume thing, so the air around them is choking for the first hour or so, and gradually faints until it’s almost imperceptible when it’s closing time. A, however, somehow managed to make the heavy abundance of her perfume not at all disturbing, but even mildly erotic. It was her first day at work, so I had to show her around everything. How to feed the machine, how to stack up the magazines and advertisements or sometimes refrigerator magnets so it’s easier to feed them when it’s time. I showed her my favourite part, which is when the pallet that holds a ton of magazines runs out and you have to use a lift-fork to bring another from the storage room. We even got to use the most awesome machine in the whole sweatshop, which is the one that wraps a bunch of magazines in that thick, rigid plastic ribbon that’s impossible to remove.
A’s super awesome. She’s studying to be a policewoman. I mentioned how awesome that was. I thought about adding how incredibly hot that was, but given my previous experience with danish girls, and given that she could have probably pulled my arm out of it’s socket without even trying, I decided against it. Still, we had a great time, and there was a lot more talking than usually takes place at the sweatshop.
By the end of the day, A and I were so synchronized that we were outworking the machine, and we had plenty of free time to stand around doing nothing, as T still had to pack the final products. I decided to go to him and ask him if I should help him, instead, as A was now perfectly capable of holding the line on her own. He was delighted by my offering and he explained to me that I was to group the finished packages and stack them in groups of 25.
I began, then, to count sets of five. I would grab five magazines, five times, and set them in a stack so T could wrap them with the mega-awesome ribbon machine. Something was off, though. The magazines were just a bit too large for my hands, I had to make too many sets of five and the line was moving a bit too fast. T, seeing my plight, came to help.
“No, no, no” he said. “You are doing it in sets of five. Look, it’s much more easier if you count them like this: 3, 6, 9, 12. Then again 3, 6, 9, 12. And then you add one more and you’ve got twenty-five.” At that very moment, my heart skipped a beat, and then evaporated into an uncontrollable frenzy. I could feel the blood rush to my face, my stomach dissolve into sweetness and glee.
“Yes” I said, “it is much simpler and efficient to count by twelves”. He smiled at me as I did as he told me, and produced stacks of 25 much faster and easier than I ever had before. His face didn’t seem as distant as it had before, and the cold country I found myself in didn’t feel as cold or uncaring as it used to. “Do you always count by twelve?” I asked him.
“Yes, always by twelves. Its much easier, I think”
“Yes, T” I said. ” It is much more easier”
After months of wandering the Earth alone, I found, in the most unexpected of places, a kindred soul: someone who understood, as I do, the great advantage of a duo-decimal system. Twelve is a much better number than ten, I’ve mentioned so before. You can divide 12 by 2 and get a nice number. You can divide it by 3 and get a nice number. You can divide it by 4 and get a nice number. And the ather natural numbers that are not factors of 12 give as a result very pretty, well rounded numbers.
12/1 = 12
12/2 = 6
12/3 = 4
12/4 = 3
12/5 = 2.4
12/6 = 2
What can you do with ten? Nothing! You can divide it by five, and by two. That’s all. Didn’t it ever bother you, to see the pillar of your counting system defeated by just the third factor you ever come across?
Ah, but T understands! Imagine what we could do together! Produce a duo-decimal system that would forever shatter the chains of the decimal system’s oppression. I have so many ideas, so many dreams that could now come true… but I’ll leave them to a future exploration, as they deserve a posting of their own.
For now, all I know is that I’m in love again, with T and with 12.