Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Math-o-Matic

Numbers copy

Numbers copyNumbers intimidate me. I have never much liked them.  Ever since my father tried to teach me fractions, time and money — all in the same week, numbers became terribly suspicious to me.  For the most part, I managed to stick with most of the concepts presented about cash, as it was drilled over and over into my wee soft head that 25 cents made a quarter.  Pfft!  THIS was easy math: Money made sense/cents to me.  It wasn’t until the man tried to flip the switch over to time and fractions a day later.  It was at this point I developed a deep distrust in this numbers business.

I could not comprehend, in what evil universe did time suddenly have the power to screw up finances — making a “quarter after” on the clock worth FIFTEEN?!  Suddenly, it didn’t matter if it was a quarter after 1 through 12 (which also oddly repeated themselves in two complete cycles).  No, no, no.  THIS was not fair.  Somewhere in the process of time I’d lost a whole dime and could not seem to justify it from any angle.  Especially, when the long hand of the treacherous clock arbitrarily changed his fickle mind (and possibly my 2nd grade piggybank portfolio) to represent a whopping 45… on his way to the top of the hour, when it became a “quarter til/to…” — or was it reallllly the bottom of an hour (?), now that there were more numbers to add up.  Because those numbers had to be heavier, too — right? [See, a well meaning teacher toyed with my thought processes even more when she tried to toss in some facts about pounds and ounces around the same time, really messing up my 7 year old mind that memorable, yet painful school year.]  Excuse me?  Time, to me, was the original embezzler, the ultimate con man who tries to fool you with the old quick change scam, the short con where hustler confuses a cashier into giving more change than they should.  Oh, yeah — he’ll give you forty-five, but in half an hour he’s going to get you to give up thirty and you’ll be back to 15.

Grrrrrr…

The sad thing is, I’d love to love numbers.  I have a great respect for them, but they hurt my brain (on all fronts).  But, I know how important they are to everything we do in life.

Experts tell us that math is so cumulative in nature and that it is important to identify breakdowns as early as possible. They say that, “…children are more likely to experience success in math when any neurodevelopmental differences that affect their performance in mathematics are dealt with promptly — before children lose confidence or develop a fear of math.”  Soooo… having a grown man yell numerical facts at you in a rapid fire machine gun staccato probably wasn’t the confidence builder I needed to prevent my ultimately paralyzing fear of math, eh?

Man.  I sure missed that developmental boat.

My son, due to the nature of autism, has a language processing disorder.  So, numbers pose a whole other box of tacks.  A brief example: two, too, to / one, won / four, for, fore / eight, ate / and so on.  While not necessarily painful, most of the conversations that surrounded these confusing beauties have been funny, but still frustrating.

Speaking of language and numbers, I spent some time in my twenties studying Japanese.  While I did okay with the language, mimicking well enough that as a studio singer managed to convince clients that I was fluent in the language, because my dialect was pretty good.  But, when it came to learning the multiple levels of the Japanese system of numerals – I failed miserably.  See, for starters — the Japanese number system is in units of four instead of three, which can make converting into English kind of tough.  Then they have this funny (yet frustrating) little thing called “counters” which are required to count different types of objects, animals, or people.  There are many ways to count things that are long and cylindrical or thin or bound or round – what? In English we count cows, pasta and reams of paper all with the same words for numbers.

No. I’m not a huge fan of numbers.  My wiring short circuits if I think about them for too long.  Doctors call this Dyscalculia, a brain-based condition that makes it hard to make sense of numbers and math concepts.  Researchers can’t tell exactly what causes dyscalculia, but they are pretty certain that particular factors contribute:

Genes and heredity

Brain development

Environment

Brain injury

Physicist Paul Dirac once said, “God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.”  As a very spiritual person, I do believe that is likely true.  But, heaven help me if I’m the one having to deal with the digits.  I can appreciate the beauty, I just can’t always sort ‘em out.  I’ll just have to continue to lean on the big guy upstairs and my calculator [Which, if you took away, BTW — would leave me with dyscalculia and discalculated. *Sigh*  Words: WAY more fun.]

xo – t.

“Perfect numbers like men are very rare.” – Rene Descartes

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” – Steven Wright

“Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics.  I can assure you mine are still greater.” – Albert Einstein

“A few honest men are better than numbers.” – Oliver Cromwell