I count the number of Halloween visitors each year. And I do it by half-hour segments from opening bell at 5:30 until we turn the lights out at 8. The data are entered into a spreadsheet and compared with totals going back to 1995.
For instance, I can tell you that the 299 visitors we had last night are a far cry from the record of 441 in 2005. Also, that the period between 6:30 and 7 was the busiest. We had 99 come to our door in that time frame, hardly equal to the 119 in that same slot in 2011. And far from 182 from 7:30 to 8 in 2005, the half-hour record.
But I don’t stop with Halloween.
On a recent hike up a segment of the Grand Canal here in Phoenix, I counted hikers, bikers and joggers on the banks. Not to mention ducks and grocery carts in the water. Oh, and the three squatters who had set up a crude camp on the south bank near 23rd Avenue.
I am not particularly proud of my mania for figures.
It is not lost on me that in counting Halloween visitors, for instance, the kids and their costumes can become numbers and not real people. I constantly have to remind myself of that.