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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Numbers Matter

My car passed the 20,000 milestone yesterday, and I happened to look down at the odometer in time to see it change from 19,999. In the days of analog odometers, it was always fun to watch the digits roll over to the next round number, with a faintly audible click in the background. One thousand was okay, each ten thousand was cool, and when they hit 100,000, that was the coolest -- watching five nines flip over to zeroes and seeing the 1 appear. I've never driven a car long enough to see 200,000, let alone a million, but as I recall most of my early vehicles didn't have room for a seventh digit.

Now, on digital dashboards, that fleeting moment is not nearly as much fun. The change from 19,999 to 20,000 was no different than the change from 20,000 to 20,001. Yawn.

On the other hand, I was happy watching the guy at the gas station lowering the price sign from $3.15/gallon to $2.99/gallon as I pulled up to the pump today.