As you already know, I’m not great at maths, but unfortunately there is no escaping numbers – they’re everywhere. Some numbers are greater than others and I don’t just mean in actual numerical value either, but rather in the way they are perceived.
In Western culture, many a Bingo evening host has confirmed that 7 is the luckiest number. In Chinese culture, 8 is the preferred digit (because the pronunciation of the word is similar to that of the word “fortune”, in case you’re interested). According to Harry Nilsson (and a number of subsequent bands), “One is the loneliest number”. Shame…
The most prevalent but underrated number is 3. Many things in the world tend to come in threes. Primary colours… The Hanson brothers… Kittens who lost their mittens… In fact, the number three is so important there are even, among others, writing, economic, survival and aviation rules built around it.
This all brings us to my point – dangerous three word sentences.
Of course, “I love you” is perhaps the most well-known example. I’m pretty sure that “I am pregnant” strikes terror into the heart of many a casual fling. According to The Minimalists, “just for when” is perhaps the most dangerous sentence in one’s pursuit of all things minimal.
Today, I am adding a new 3-word phrase to this list
I’ll just quickly are three words which are generally followed by something that is not, in fact, quick. They have often preceded countless wasted hours of blood, sweat and tears (quite literally, in my case) as one becomes embroiled in some task that was supposed to, upon starting, take only one tenth of the time to complete. To make things worse, unlike its closely related cousin “won’t you quickly…”, I’ll just quickly are words you say to yourself, so you have no one else to blame for the ensuing soap opera level drama.
Much like the time the bathroom sink had a small leak and I thought I’d just quickly tighten the nuts which join the water pipes to the respective taps before dinner. What followed was a multi-hour water-pipe surgery, involving a flooded bathroom, an array of spanners and a very, very bad mood.
Then there was the time I decided I’d just quickly tidy all the cables behind the TV cabinet which resulted in a couple hours of hard-core untangling, a visit to the hardware store to buy a crazy length of plastic cable-coil and a plug which then didn’t seem to be attached to any of the appliances.
That lands us at the current “I’ll just quickly” saga
In November 2017, dad and I were chatting about Elon Musk and his various projects – in particular a chip that could be implanted into a person’s brain to enable us as humans to keep up with the fast processing power of artificial intelligence. The conversation turned to science fiction – specifically a series of sci-fi novels by author Peter Hamilton in which humans had essentially been integrated with computers in a manner that could be described as “in the same ballpark” as Elon Musk’s project. The conversation ended with me taking home one of the novels dad had mentioned.
Being November, I decided that I’d just quickly knock through the novel, with the idea that I’d finish it during my three week December holiday.
Little did I realise that this book was so enormous that it had been split into two volumes of 1,000+ pages each. Larger in dimensions than your average Jeffery Deaver, with smaller print and about 10,000 more characters, it’s essentially a sci-fi version of Game of Thrones. These tomes are so large and heavy they have to be read while sitting straight upright, or balancing on a pillow and supported by both hands if lying down. Falling asleep while reading these books poses a serious and credible threat to the symmetry of your face.
It is now January 2019 and I still have about 200 maxi-pages to go in the second of the novels. So much for “just quickly”.
“Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results” – Albert Einstein
You’d think that based on my current lifetime’s statistical evidence, I would have stopped fooling myself by now that things can be done within a reasonable time frame. Alas – apparently not. And while we all ponder this, if you’ll excuse me, I just quickly have to pop down to the shop to buy milk. Based on my track record, I guess that means I’ll see you in 4 years from now…
In a cruel twist of irony, while I was busy preparing this blog post, I tried to quickly just resize the images I used… This happened: