Friday, January 15, 2010

By the Numbers......

I'm going to come clean here and say that I play a lot of mind games with numbers.

There, it doesn't look nearly as freaky as I thought it was.

It all started way back when I was a teenager, and my cousin came to visit. I had just gotten my first DIGITAL clock, and she probably already had one. One night when the clock read 11:11, she said you were supposed to make a wish.

I got hooked, always making a wish if I caught the clock reading 11:11. It only counts if it's a digital clock, of course.

I added the stipulation that you couldn't TELL anyone what you were wishing. Maybe that's the rule for all wishes.

I taught for 8 years at the same high school, and all the rooms had digital clocks. Somehow the wishing at 11:11 thing spread to my students, and once it started, there was no stopping it.

The STUDENTS added the stipulation that in addition to stopping to make a wish at 11:11, everyone had to remain SILENT until the clock switched to 11:12. It was easier to go along with them than to try to fight it. Besides, sometimes that was the only peaceful minute I had in the whole day.

One time there were visitors from UGA in my classroom. Not the usual student teacher types, but real live professors, important people.

When the clock turned to 11:11, I continued teaching, trying with all my might to remain professional. My students immediately began saying rather indignantly, "Hey, it's 11:11!" and shushing me and each other. I gave up and stood there in silence until the clock read 11:12, then I carried on as if there had been no interruption. I'm sure the visitors wondered into what altered dimension they had ventured.

At some point I decided that 4:07 was a good time too, since that's my birthday. I make a wish if I see the clock read 4:07, which almost always happens in the afternoon on my way home from school. Rarely do I see 4:07 AM, unless of course that is the time that Hubby wakes me up to travel home from the casino.

When I started cycling, this obsession with numbers extended to my odometer. I don't exactly make a wish, but if I see the mileage read 11.11, I think it's a sign that it's going to be a good ride. I've never actually examined the data to see if it plays out. If I have a bad ride, like a flat tire or a fall, I don't know that I'm ever thinking about the mileage when that happens.

I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but keep in mind that I don't look at the odometer CONSTANTLY. I do occasionally look at the road, turn signs, scenery, dogs that pose a potential threat, traffic, and other cyclists. If I miss 11:11, it's not like I can turn around and go back. Or put it in reverse, as I once read about a young driver doing to try to conceal the miles he had put on his father's car over a weekend.

I'm convinced that my mind games with numbers absolutely saved my sanity during one particular century ride. I was riding alone, and I managed to see the matching digits at every possible time for a century ride: 11.11, 22.22, 33.33, 44.44, 55.55, 66.66, 77.77, 88.88, and 99.99. I felt like I had scored a major victory.

I've played other numbers games on my bike. Like if I've ridden 15.2 miles and I look down and notice that I'm going 15.2 mph. My new computer, however, shows hundredths on the mileage and not on the mph, so they don't every match.

I'm less likely to play such silly games when I'm captaining the tandem, since I have Katydid to talk to and keep me from going insane.

Some of you are probably thinking that it's too late for that.


Maggie said...

I don't think this is nuts at all. First I think getting teenagers to be voluntarily quiet for an entire minute is amazing. You copyright this concept and sell it to other educators. Seriously.

And I could the clock dashes. 10:08 has the largest amounts of dashes at 21. If I see 10:08 on a digital clock anywhere then I take it as a sign from the gods that all will be well.

I don't think you 'numbers game' is all that weird... We can share the padded cell.

Anonymous said...

I can picture it so clearly:

Important UGA person: "Excuse me, what are you doing?"

You: "We're making a wish, silly! Shhh..."