I boarded the Flinders Street train heading back to the city at the end of another work week. Sitting right across my usual spot on the train was a young girl, no more than 7 or 8 years old. She was holding up her little toddler brother while her mother spooned what would appear to be the final teaspoonfuls of pumpkin puree into the little baby brother’s mouth.
Daughter was very chatty. The whole time, they were discussing a game that both were playing. It involved breeding dragons, hatching eggs and collecting dragoncash, treats, gems (after a bit of googling, I’m led to believe that the game in question is DragonVale).
On the topic of the resources that they’d stockpiled so far, daughter mentioned that she had accumulated more than 600,000 treats and was consulting mother as to what she could best use it for.
Six hundred thousand.
This got me thinking. When I was her age, I didn’t have any tangible concept of enumeration beyond perhaps a thousand. Given, there was a vague awareness of millions, billions and gogolplexes (which likely only emerged in my consciousness when I was 11 or 12 years old), but even they were just words we used in bouts of “who can say the bigger number”. I doubt I could’ve strung number scales together (e.g. “hundred thousand”, “ten million”), and I certainly hadn’t painstakingly amass 600,000 of anything, even till this day.
I wonder what such an awareness does to a person, and how it will go on to shape the way one goes on to interprets the world around.