Growing up, I'd always been the kind of guy who'd give the exact time to the minute when asked for the time. If it was 2:18, I told the person it was 2:18. Not 2:20, Not 2:15. I remember being mocked in elementary school for this particular trait of mine. They told me I was too particular. I didn't see what was wrong with that.
These days I answer 2:15 in the same situation. I'm more discerning about the kind of information I'm giving, and its purpose. It's a spillover effect of having become more judicious about my words, who I am talking to, and what my words may convey to that person. I'm more deliberate with words that aware of the effects of those words on others than ever before. I've come to accept that 2:18 and 2:15 convey the same thing to most people, and that it's the 'normal' thing to do. I can't help but think that my newly cultivated way with words has affected my affection for numeric accuracy for the worse. This makes me sad.
I started reading Catch-22 yesterday. Early on in the book is the phrase, eleven-times-seventeen-years.
I started to move on, accepting that the letters denoted some big absurd number. But I doubled back. I had a compulsive need to know the value of the expression. "seventeen times ten plus seventeen..."
Looks like I haven't quite lost it all yet.