I love numbers. It's geeky and silly, but I love to think about numbers and patterns and do math in my head.
When my car reached mileage of 123456, I stopped on the side of the road and admired it. If I'd had a camera I'd've taken a picture. I notice odometer readings of 141414 and 112358 and ... you get the picture.
I had long decided that 27 was the best birthday, it being the most recent cubic birthday. It'll be a while till I get to the next one (64), and virtually impossible to get to the one after that (125). Of course, 30 is 3 cubed plus 3.
I stand in my bathroom and multiply lengths and widths to figure out how many tiles there are. I estimate my grocery bill as I put things in the basket, calculating the appropriate tax as I go along. When I go on a road trip, I figure out my MPG in my head and my average speed. I also like to calculate how many minutes to the next town based on my estimated speed, and see how close I get.
It started in highschool, when I was on the Texaco Challenge team, and had to learn lots of number sense types of tricks in order to do math in my head quickly. Things like 23 x 27 = 621 because 25 squared is 625 (tens digit (2) times one bigger (3) with 25 stuck on the end) minus 2 squared, since each the multiplier and the multiplicand are 2 away from 25. I like multiplying things by 11, too. As an extra measurement of my mathematical geekiness, I lettered in UIL calculator (I lettered in band, too, but we digress into other kinds of geekiness), but rather than get a letter jacket, I convinced my school to purchase my first HP calculator: a 32SII with reverse polish notation which I still have and use.
As school starts back into session this fall, I wonder what student out there is just starting into a love of numbers or words or something else that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Good luck to all those students and their teachers this year!
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
3 months ago