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Today, I had every intention of taking mail to the nearest mailbox, until I looked out my front door. There was snow all over the driveway, which I would have to cross with a walker. Not having a dog team and sled, I decided not to make the trip.
I watch the 11 o’clock news every night before going to bed and I can’t remember the local weatherman predicting an overnight snowfall in our area. Who can blame him for missing the call? The weather these days is spooky. Yesterday, for example, part of the Midwest experienced temperatures 40 degrees higher than normal, and some other spot in the southeast was 20 degrees below normal. People might as well stop storing away parkas and shorts. When my grandson and his wife were visiting they, who live in the Florida panhandle, advised me not to watch the cable TV weather channel. They said all the reporting was hysterical and, often, not true. They knew during the last hurricane and tornado season, I was glued to the weather station and fretting a bit. They, fortunately, live in a place, which, for some reason, escapes the severest conditions, despite being in a town right on the beach.
Weather had always fascinated me. I once even considered meteorology as a career choice but the math involved put a damper on the thought.
Yesterday, I was musing on me and math. I wish I knew how and why my quirky brain operates. I sometimes think I’m suffering from a severe mental handicap, like the absence of a right hemisphere, this being the section that deals with numbers and spatial concepts.
The thing that interests me is the fact that I started out on an equal footing, so to speak, up until the age of 12, when I entered high school. I was a whiz kid – jumping through school like a high hurdler, even acing algebra and science. Then I ran into more advanced math and science and fell flat on my face. It was like slamming into a brick wall.
This must have delighted a lot of my classmates, and I could sympathize with and understood their feelings. It really bothered my teachers, however, almost as much as it bothered me.
Here I was, taking Columbia University courses in every area but math, where I floundered. I’ll never forget geometry. Half the grade had to do with drawing the shapes involved in the equations. Add to my other problems, my inability to draw a straight line, even with the aid of a straight ruler or a triangle, and my workbook was a total disaster. The teacher was my older sister’s boyfriend and even this didn’t help. He never could fathom the strange workings of my head.
Biology was another curse. I loathed it, and when we were studying the house fly I wrote a paper on the diary of a housefly trying to eke out an existence, eating in a kitchen while avoiding fly paper and swatting. The teacher was a friend. He was very involved in New York City theater, which is where he thought I should be. He, I remember, gave me an A.
In chemistry class I lasted one week, until the teacher, another friend, decided he and everyone else would be a lot safer if I were in a 4th year Latin class, which is where I wanted to be anyway.
To this day I have difficulties with arithmetic. For example, I can add, multiply, and divide like a computer, but I cannot subtract. Fractions and decimals are also a challenge. This has hampered cooking a bit. I have to work very deliberately to double a recipe.
I recently had some brain scans. I wanted to ask them to pay special attention to my right hemisphere, but decided it probably wouldn’t be possible and, besides, I might not really like what they discovered.
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