# Only real strawberries count

Jemma here. I’ve just gotten to know about this infinity thing. In school speak, there is the minus or plus infinity. This is what it shows in symbols.
-∞+

On the minus side, things can go infinitely smaller. On the plus side, things can go infinitely bigger.

Nice to think about strawberries going, let us say, much bigger.

Sometimes you learn you go minus or plus infinity about the number of strawberries, but mind you, the Founding Fathers said you couldn’t owe for strawberries that never existed, so to speak.

Plus or minus infinity can be quite tricky. You need to reckon what your zero is.

-2 and -2 is -4
-2 (+) -2 = -4

This is how we usually write this.
-2-2 = -4

Think we have a basket of strawberries.

Bob takes 2 strawberries from the basket, and then he puts 2 strawberries in. There is no change in quantity, -2 and +2 is zero change.
-2 + 2 = 0

It is not zero strawberries. We still have a basket of them, and two strawberries are back in again.

Now think Bob takes two strawberries from the basket and puts the same strawberries back in. There’s no change in quality.
-2 (-) -2 = 0

This is how we can write this. Math generalizes on quality. Two minuses add up to a plus, and math wouldn’t tell if Bob puts the same strawberries back in, which might not matter, I mean, only sometimes.
-2 +2 = 0

Math is good for quantity. A plus and a minus make a minus.
-2 (+)- 2 = -4
-2-2 = -4

Sometimes zero is the same as nothing, but only if we agree. If zero could stand for nothings only, we’d be counting strawberries we don’t have, and honestly, only real strawberries count.

Zero can be a starting value for something. Have a look at the stopwatch.

For reckoning on things like strawberries, we have the minus infinity on the left-hand side, and the plus side is that of the right hand.

For time, the stopwatch goes to plus infinity on the left-hand side. It is on the left we get more and more hours. The minus infinity is on the right-hand side. It shows smaller and smaller pieces of time on the right.

Aunt Chantelle said the minus infinity was a very good idea to help her cope with the jet lag. She was going to think she maybe hadn’t had much sleep, but those were — however quite many — only very tiny intervals of time she was on the plane.

She comes from France every Thanksgiving.

Conventionally, we note the infinity as
-∞+
For a stopwatch, we would write
+∞-

Infinity is like the indefinite, pi. Wheels are not endless, and infinity does not have to mean eternity or anything that never ends, either. We just cannot or would not strictly decide on a number or quality, like… for ever. For me and strawberries, just forget about it, I don’t decide.

I like language much too, and even if we counted all words, we could never tell exactly which we’d be about to hear or say, in a context. Begin with infinity.