May 30th, 2004



I've never been particularly brainy when it comes to numbers. The best thing about arithmetic for me as a child, was that to remember how to spell it, you said "A rat in the house may eat the ice cream." This illustrates perfectly how my brain works. As far as I know there was nothing unusual about my mathematical abilities up until 5th grade, at which point I ended up with a severe mental block due to story problems and my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, who gave me much abuse about being out of school for 3 months with strep throat.

Algebra I just about finished me off. I was so lost! Thank goodness I had Geometry next which redeemed my sense of self-confidence, since I had no problem with visualizing spatial relationships and loved solving the proofs. A friend of mine tutored me through it and through Algebra II and that was where my math education ended. I chose my first major in college, Art, partly because I didn't have to take any math classes. When I switched to English, for many other reasons, still not having to take math was a big bonus. Thank god for calculators. Kitchen math is about the best I can do without one, and I've had to memorize all sorts of little tricks to do even that quickly. Anders says that when he's explaining something math-related to me, he can almost see the wall go up.

Ironic considering that I'm the one who handles the bills in our household. I think it's more because I'm anal-retentive well-organized and have a good memory than that I can keep our accounts straight. Internet banking takes care of a lot of that for me, I just have to press buttons and worry about the bottom line.

I've always loved the pattens of math, and the beauty of numbers, however. I remember being thrilled upon seeing the pattern that multiplication tables create and have always had a special love for the 9x table with its ladder-like beauty up and down:


A favorite book of mine, Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn, also introduced me to many of math's beautiful games, puzzles, patterns and riches. I was delighted to discover that someone has coined a term for people like me: people who basically suck at math itself, but like the things that numbers produce. "Someone who loves the aesthetics of numbers, the art one can create with them, the patterns that can be produced." Thanks to lonita, I now have a way to describe myself in relation to the world of numbers: a maesthematician. One who appreciates the aesthetics of math, without necessarily being able to comprehend the numerics.
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