As I drove home this evening I was musing about the events of the workday, and in order to push those unpleasant thoughts out of my mind I started thinking about numbers.

I like numbers.  Numbers like me, too.  My social security number is a pattern.  My driver’s license number is a pattern.  The plate number on my car is a pattern.  My husband’s social security number is a pattern.  These are all sequences I have memorized.  In fact, I must consciously stop myself from memorizing numbers.  I have memorized the 10 digit project numbers at work, and I have memorized my PG&E account number, and I have a cache of PINs which do not correspond to specific dates or otherwise represent something of personal significance which I have memorized all the same.

I force myself to stop memorizing numbers because it is truly neurotic.  Back in the day I was the subject of a few Rainman comments, which I found disconcerting though not entirely without merit; numbers are soothing, and the patterns are brilliant.  But I had made a choice to live in the world of Nongeeks, so I compelled my mind to stop memorizing.

But today was a particularly puzzling day at work, so what better way to find some sense in the world than to put some numbers to it.  And then, kismet: this post indicated that I am either (a) not quite so neurotic as I had originally believed; or (b) have relatives in the UK.


3 responses

  1. Shhh don’t tell anyone but I love numbers as well and also stopped memorizing them… now actually I just subC play dumb because the looks and comments started to get to me. There is something very soothing about seeing the patterns they make etc

    Hope today is going betters

  2. I studied political statistics at U of Michigan long time ago, we constructed variance – covariance matrices, squeezed out variance : turns out, even random matrices have covariance, in other words, there is nothing “random.” I once wanted to use a random number generator to create a dataset, was told by Info Tech guy, “which one do you want.” meaning there are random number generators, and then there are other random number generators. teaching stat’s makes me number obessessed also – so what I am saying is that numbers are never “random” so if you are obessessed with numbers its ok, you are trying to see the underlying order of the universe. but lets keep this to ourselves….

  3. Excellent argument, Mark. Too bad it’s dangerous for the uninitiated. However, I’ll keep those secrets of the universe safely padlocked.

    I have a destressor, a twist on the license plate game. I add the digits on license plates to determine if the number is divisible by 3 and if so, I ‘win.’ I have not quite yet determined what my reward ought to be: perhaps a pair of shoes, an iPhone, a day off from work.

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