Numbers people

I often have trouble talking to numbers people. Numbers people need stats on everything, no matter how unimportant the numbers are. I tend to only make qualitative observations.

Part of this may be due to the fact that I’m not that interested in measuring things I cannot control. I almost never check the weather forecast. In most cases, weather won’t change my plans. Now that I’m in Silicon Valley, where there is no weather, I don’t even understand why there’s a forecast in the first place. The only forecast I’d really be interested in would be for earthquakes, but the current precision on those doesn’t help me very much.

To illustrate my problem, here’s what a typical conversation with one of the engineers I know sounds like. Keep in mind that I am generally struggling to insert numbers wherever possible so I don’t sound like an idiot:

#: So, California, huh? What’s the average temperature where you live this time of year?
Me: I’m usually indoors. They keep it at room temperature.
#: 72?
Me: Sure.
#: Do you drive to work?
Me: Yeah.
#: How long does it take you?
Me: I don’t know. Depends on when I leave.
#: When do you usually leave?
Me: Typically between 7 and 11, but it really varies based on when I wake up.
#: Well, how many miles is your commute?
Me: Oh, I looked this up once. It was three. No, that was my old apartment. I think five. Maybe.
#: Gas prices must be crazy out there.
Me: Yeah.
#: What’s the average price there now?
Me: Expensive.
#: How many miles per gallon do you get?
Me: I usually fill up when I’m down to 1/4 tank.
#: Got it. So, how are you liking the local sports teams?
Me: I’m really only qualified to talk about the Internet.

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