Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Am I Obsessed?

Driving home from Bible study this morning, I was following Mother Dear, who had taken a separate car since she had to come a bit late. The numbers on her license plate are 0193, which I realized are all powers of three: 3^-infinity, 3^0, 3^2, and 3^1. I felt rather ashamed for having never noticed this before :(. I had previously noticed that the four numbers on my license plate (0244) are all powers of two: 2^-infinity, 2^1, and 2^2. Unfortunately our other two cars don't have similar "power" patterns, though one of them does have all perfect squares :). Am I psycho for noticing these things? I also automatically test numbers for divisibility by 3, 6, 9, and 18 when driving by road signs. . . then I add up all the digits and do the same thing.

Today I am dressed in a black skirt, black sandals, gray and black shirt, and silver necklace. Am I weird because I felt uncoordinated when I put on a blue-patterned apron for doing the dishes? I don't mind dressing using multiple hues, but if I already have a color theme, it kind of bothers me to break it. I arrange my M&M's by colors of the rainbow before eating them. My blouses are hung by hue and shade. My fabric is also folded and stored by color. And I've been known to twitch if Sister Dear wears a pink hair binder with an outfit that includes red - and she's been known to do that very thing just to irritate me. . . *smiles sweetly at her*

My obsession with number patterns has a long and glorious history, and I blame that completely on Parents Dear :). My obsession with colors is a little bit less explainable. I'm not sure where I got that. It also has a long and glorious history, though. By the time I was 18 months old, though I still called my mom "daddy", I could identify 10 colors. And I've been categorizing colors ever since.

That's navy blue, not midnight blue!

And yes, there is a difference.

A big one.

So, am I obsessed?


une_fille_d'Ève said...

*smiles sweetly back*

Anonymous said...

I'd say...only an old-fashioned math girl from Atlanta could be that obsessed! :) LOL

But don't you think your future husband will think it's kinda cunnings and will adore you for it?

deb said...

oops, Susan, that was me (Deb). i forgot to hit Blogger.

Anna Naomi said...

hehe! :-) I try to arrange my clothes by colors of the rainbow, and I alternate eating my colors of m&ms. They just taste better that way! And yes, it makes me cringe horribly when my younger sister wears a non-matching hair thing! :-) I guess everyone has their ideosyncrises!

Mrs.B. said...

Since I've NEVER been good at or understood math or anything math related, your interest and excitement over numbers has always fascinated/perplexed me. (o:

We all have our little things....for me it's decorating. For instance, if people hang their pictures too high I have to fight the urge to get a hammer and re-hang them properly. I also like for a room to be balanced so I have to consciously make myself stop rearranging their furniture in my head. The same thing with book shelves. I like balance and eveness.

Since you're a math person, you might find it interesting that my favourite number has always been 8. Even when I was little. I like it because it is round and even....the same on the top and the bottom. LOL are you seeing a pattern here?!?

Sherrin said...

I am with mrs b. on the numbers thing. I remember losing my maths text book behind the couch when I was homeschooled and being very sad when it was recovered!

Colours though - I remember what people were wearing years ago (even in my childhood) and my Mum thinks that is strange.

I guess we all have things that naturally interest us, and it is wonderful that you can work in an area where you are obviously a natural!

Lydia said...

You are a riot, Susan!!! I've never obsessed over numbers (I don't think I can comprehend that highly) but I do obsess over colors. My maternal grandfather is a commercial artist and my mother was an art major before she changed to education. Maybe that's where I became obsessed with colors.

If you want to get an idea of my obsession with color, you should read my "Colored Clothing System" post in The Wardrobe. I was slightly hesitant to post it but I agree that little idiosyncrasies about people make them much more interesting and enjoyable. People can be fascinating. I think homeschoolers are some of the most interesting since they were educated and indoctrinated apart from the status quo. It's great to have things that set you apart from others as long as it's not taken to an extreme.

I did think of a couple weird things I do with numbers. I have a habit of counting things like stairs, lights in a large auditorium and other common everyday things. I do it to pass time if I'm bored but now I don't seem to be bored much or have spare time so it has gone by the wayside. One really weird thing I used to do was count the lines in digital numbers (the kind on a digital watch or car clock). For example, did you know the number five has five lines? And the number four has four lines? The number six has six lines. Those are the only numbers I have seen with the same number of lines. It gets to be fun to add up all the lines in the current time. Then you add up all the lines in that number and so on until you come back down to either 4,5 or 6 (One of the "complete numbers" with a matching number of lines). Hmmm, now that I have explained this practice it sounds very weird. Oh, well. Now you know something weird about me. :)
Hey Naomi! I eat my M&M's in a particular order! And I agree, they do taste better that way. I can also tell the difference between a red, dark green, and light green M&M by taste alone. Well, that's all for now. Don't want to reveal too much of my obsessiveness.

Thanks for the laugh, Susan. You just keep on testing numbers for divisibilty in street signs and checking for powers of 3 on license plates. I think it makes you...well, you!

Mrs.B. said...

Hi Lydia! You reminded me.....I count things like stairs and lights too! That's a compulsion that we share! LOL (o:

Susan, this was a fun post!

Ashley said...

I think everyone is obsessive about something or another. :-) I'm obsessive about color, too. When I was still taking painting classes in school, I used to look at any color and try to figure out what colors I would have to mix to get that shade. I can't handle pink hair-ties with red outfits. I would not put on a blue apron over a carefully coordinated black and grey outfit. *smile* I eat M&M's by arranging them in patterns according to color.

I do the counting thing too, and I have a weird obsession with odd numbers. For example, I want three kids... or five, but definitely not four. I love noticing patterns - like with numbers, and other things I don't have the math knowledge like you, so I usually compare it to a birthday or significant date.

Okay enough about me. :-)

Jessica said...

Look at it this way...you could be obsessed with something REALLY weird...like lemmings or something!

Though I personally am not like that about numbers (though I've devised a little unexplainable system in my head that helps me to remember phone numbers, zip codes, etc.), I can relate to the colors thing (as it seems like the majority of the people who commented could). It too would bother me to wear a blue-patterned apron over a completely color-coordinated outfit...and the pink hair tie with the red outfit thing...I know how you feel (though I don't think I've ever actually twitched!). But, then, with all my idiosyncrasies (that I'm not going to list here!)...I prefer to think as an "anonymous" commented...that my "future husband will think it's kinda cunnings and will adore [me] for it"...I just hope that's true!

Samara said...

I do that with license plate numbers, and my favorite number to see is 137 because not only are they all primes, the overall number is a prime... my next-youngest brother does the same thing... I think it may have had to do with the road-trip games our parents would invent when we were small ("find a car with a plate number that adds up to a prime number" kind of thing). I suppose it's part of our nerd heritage.

I'm not as obsessive over color coordination, but I do have vivid color vision (do stars appear to you as colored in orange, red, green, blue?).

The Happy Feminist said...

I think that there may be some kind of connection between your number obsession and your color obsession. It made me think of Vladimir Nabakov who was some sort of math prodigy as a child and also had a condition known as synaesthesia which led him to associate a particular color with each number.

I am not obsessed with either numbers or colors, although I have been known to have dreams consisting entirely of math problems even though my work has nothing to do with math. To the extent I like math though, I am more of a geometry girl. I like proofs.

Jessica said...

Remember how the Story Girl thought in color...?

Anyway...I saw your comment on my blog (thank you!) and you mentioned at one time reading Kelsie Steele's courtship story...do you remember where you found it? I would love to read it! But if you can't remember, that's fine too! Have a glorious day!

Susan said...

I'm glad my ramblings amused you all :). I guess it'll take a bit more revelation to scare people off. . . I have more ideosyncracies up my sleeve, but I'll spare everyone for now. It's so fun to hear a few others confess their own obsessions :).

Hmmm, not sure if my "future husband" whoever/ifever he may be will think my obsessions are cute, Deb, but it would be a nice plus ;).

I like 8 too, Mrs. B - after all, it's just infinity on its side :-D.

Sherrin, I've creeped people out a few times by recalling outfits that I or someone else wore from years past! I also remember people's names, ages, etc. with sometimes-eery accuracy. I used to study our homeschool directory and surprise people by knowing the names of all their kids (in order, with respective ages) - which is a feat for large homeschool families ;). I remember one time meeting a homeschool mom and realizing I had seen (not even met) her daughter about 4 years previous at a homeschool conference. Perhaps I would have been better not to reveal to the mom that I remembered her daughter's middle name and the outfit she was wearing at the conference. . . I got a really odd look. Hehe.

I remember your color clothing system, Lydia! That was weird; I'm comparatively normal ;). And scarily, I've analyzed digital clock numbers as well :).

Ashley, I must admit I thought of you when I posted this ;). My color obsession is tame compared to yours. . . Yes, we've discussed the 3 or 5 kids issue before. . . That would be great if every "odd" pregnancy turned into twins. Hehe. You'd keep having kids to try to get an odd number. My grandmother kept having kids to try to get a girl, but she gave up after 6 boys ;).

Hmmm, Jessica, your system for remembering phone numbers, etc. wouldn't happen to be like Barney Fife's system for remembering dates, would it? *grin* Yes, I remember that bit about The Story Girl :). Oh, sorry I didn't say before - Kelsie's story is on YLCF.

Hmmm, stars appear white to me, Samara. . . Sorry to disappoint ;). That's interesting, though. Hmmm.

Happy Feminist, your comment reminded me of a friend I have who visualizes the number line in full color, with each number a different color. Even I don't do that. And proofs are my favorite part of math!!!

helen said...

hehe... Well, obsessions aren't all bad ;-)

Our family has something with liscence plates in general... We look at every single car's liscence plate, figure out what state and what city it's from by the nubmers and letters on the plate (there's a system to it here), and make a huge exlamation at any MA, MB, MC, MD, and ME plates - that means the car is owned by a "foreigner" (such as ourselves, LOL).

Thanks for a relaxing bit of reading. :-)

Jessica said...

At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot...who was/is Barney Fife and how did he remember dates?!

Susan said...

Helen, we have a lot of obsessions with license plates too :). Our favorite license plate game is with letters, actually. We try to think of the longest word that contains all the letters in the plate in that order. For example, for the license plate 144TDM, antidisestablishmentarianism would probably win :-D. On long trips we've kept tally of state plates also. We've also played searching for the largest perfect square number, etc. Hmmmmm, car trip games could be a whole other post in itself :). . . BTW, glad to hear you're back and well, and thanks for the update :). I hope to send you an e-mail relatively soon. . .

You don't know who Barney Fife is, Jessica????? You poor deprived child. *pats your head sympathetically* Don Knotts played the incompetent Deputy Barney Fife in the greatest TV show ever produced - The Andy Griffith Show! His method for remembering dates was, like all his other ideas and methods, so typically Barney, but not necessarily helpful. This was in one of my all-time favorite episodes: Andy Discovers America.

The way to remember 1776:

First we have the number 1. Now that's easy to remember because it's the first number, okay?
Then we have 7. Now that's lucky number 7, so that's easy to remember. Okay?
Then we have 7 again. Now that's easy to remember because we just remembered it.
Finally we have 6, now that's 1 less than lucky number 7, so that's easy to remember because we just remembered 1 and 7.
So there you have it: 1776. :-D

That's a very loose paraphrase. I'm not as recently rehearsed on my Andy Griffith dialogue as I once was. *wistful sigh* They just don't make great TV shows like the Andy Griffith show anymore. . .

Jessica said...

Thanks for your patronizing clarification, Susan...yes, I guess I am/was a poor deprived child...or maybe just someone who doesn't watch too much TV! Barney's number-remembering system sounds like it might work...I guess it's kind of like my system in that I try to see relations between the numbers, etc....oh, never mind...like I said, it's unexplainable!

Susan said...

Hehe. You're quite welcome for the condescension I extended to you ;).

I don't watch TV much either, actually. As a matter of fact, The Andy Griffith Show was filmed in the 1960's. A show like that never would have been made in the last 10 years or so.

Esther said...

I don't know if obsessed is the word...more like CRAZY!! ;-) I spend hours and hours driving in the car each week, and I have NEVER thought about numbers! You're certainly special in that aspect!! ;-)

But I digress. I mainly just wanted to say a quick hello to you!! :)

Susan said...

News flash: Brief appearance of Esther in the blogosphere. It's kind of like a Scott MacPherson sighting at a cross-country practice ;). Hehe.

Well, you're certainly special in other aspects, Esther :). I'm glad you stopped by for a quick hello. I miss you, girl :(.

Esther said...

*bursts out laughing* Susan, you're hiliarious! So what areas am I "special" in?! ;-)

You miss me?! Awww...almost makes me want to post and reply to your posts more often!! I just - ahhhh, life has been much too busy and this week I'm going through those dreaded finals!

Tell Hannah she needs to get an actual blog so I can go post on hers. I went over there to say hello, but low and behold, there is NO blog. *shocked look*

Susan said...

I've already told Hannah she needs to get a blog! I've even offered to let her "guest post" on mine, but she hasn't yet. Maybe this summer she may be coerced. However, I'm not sure your order would carry much weight, since you haven't blogged on yours in about 3 months or so. . .

In what areas are you special? Too many to name :). You, of all people I know, can talk the fastest and most excited :-D. I may be obsessed with math, but you are more obsessed with running, and whole foods and politics :-D. I mean this in the best way, of course. . . ;) I love you, girl!

And of course I miss you. Silly question. And I understand that you are way too insanely busy to frequent the blogosphere. Maybe when you're 80 or so, after you've helped to secure 3 or 4 presidential elections, earned a few graduate degrees, had 10 or 12 kids, and become the president of GNLD, then you'll be able to sit back, relax, and blog in your spare time - when you're not helping to homeschool your 100 grandchildren, that is ;).