I love when dates dive into delicious and satisfying strings, when digits fall into obsequious and obedient order, when they arrange themselves into a poetic pattern that pleases me.
Who doesn’t notice the tidy affectation of 1-1-11? Or the distinct delight that comes at certain hours of the day, for example, 4:44 or 5:55?
Safety in numbers, order from chaos
Is this another sort of “safety in numbers?”
I was a counter from the time I was a kid. I counted everything – leaves on a branch that struck me as beautiful, steps from one one side of the street to the other, cracks in the sidewalk as I meandered my way to school, cars passing by during a specific period of time.
When I learned the multiplication tables I found much to admire; I could play with figures in my head, and challenge myself to work their rhythms and responses, visualizing decimal places and carryovers. I adored the order and magic of numbers, and I assure you – looking at my messy room and my sprawling stories, you wouldn’t have called me obsessive, or obsessive compulsive. But looking back, I realize I needed to make order out of chaos.
Why do people love to count?
I searched the internet to find an answer to what I thought was a straightforward question: Why do some people love to count?
I found nothing, though I tried my query several ways, including using psychology as a keyword. So I will offer my own interpretation, and it hardly seems far-fetched. We seek to make order out of chaos, to soothe ourselves with something controllable, to find solace in what is consistent, reliable, and even distracting.
Numbers provide a mechanism for doing just that – and we savor similar satisfactions in patterns and repetitions that come in many forms: in nature, in music, in imagery. In the echoes of our childhoods of discovery and calming; in a sequence of numbers like today’s date: 1/1/11.
Party party party (sleep sleep sleep?)
Last evening, the teenage party continued through the night. I welcomed the New Year watching some silliness on television, and content that I had no need to count anything (except heads in the household), I went to bed at 3:03.
What can I say? It may me smile to do so. I knew where my kids were (and their friends) – safe and sound, off the roads, and in my living room cheerfully talking and cutting up, and apparently only spilling a small amount of Sprite.
I grinned at the 3:03 on 01-01-11 and yielded to the necessity of zzzzzs. I had what I needed. I had what counted.
Meanwhile, if you were wondering (but I doubt it), I chuckled my way through the Bravo Wig Drop rather than the Snooki Ball Drop or my usual preference – Times Square. I raised a tiny glass of bubbly at midnight, and while trying to stay awake a few hours later, I came across this – weird New Year’s celebrations. What’s not to love about a little originality to welcome a new year?
- Did you enjoy your evening?
- How did you greet the new year?
- Do you like to count?