The walk to work takes an hour to cover approximately three miles. This is a bit slow, perhaps, but given the uncertain state of draw bridges, traffic signals, and my own ambling pace, it feels about right. It gives me plenty of time to think – about the day ahead, about anything at all.
The other morning I occupied my time by thinking about counting. More particularly, I tried to count to thirty in every language I had ever learned even a smattering of. The successes were surprising: German, Armenian, Japanese; so too were the failures: French – the teens tripped me up; Mongolian – the only number I could remember off the top of my head was тав, and a bit of cudgeling could bring up sixes and sevens, but that’s about it; Greek – counting was never a priority – ditto Latin; Russian – again, as for Mongolian, I could only remember пять, as that was the number of persons allowed in elevators and I had happened to make a little song of it to myself.
One learns so much – and forgets it, too, if one has learnt it indifferently or avoided using it. Or so at least I thought, as I rounded the last corner before work.