I haven’t met too many people like me. From as far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated by numerical sequences.
Most of the time, I just chuckle inwardly and know that this particular “interest” of mine is not shared by too many other people. When I point out something that I find interesting, my wife usually says, “Okay” with that half-hearted acknowledgement that she does when she really means, “Let me get back to what I was doing.”
I’m talking about things like dates. Take October 2, 2020 for example. In my mathematical mind, I think of 10 x 2= 20. OK. I agree, that’s not really that interesting.
My favorites are the sequences such as 7/8/90. On that date, I remember waiting for 12:34 pm and 56 seconds so that I could ask whoever I was with if they had noticed that it’s 12:34:56 on 7/8/90. Most of the time I would receive blank stares with the “So what?” look on their face.
I once had a patient who was born on 8/8/88. And if that wasn’t enough, her mother was born on 5/5/55! I guess it was significant enough for me that I remember something like that so many years later!
Telephone numbers always had a particular fascination for me when I was younger. I was known as the child who remembered everyone’s phone number. I can still remember all the numbers I’ve had since childhood. Even the party line numbers!
When I became older and was arranging for phone service for my offices, I used to give a lot of thought to which available numbers would be “ideal” for our patients to remember. Suitable placement on the touchtone grid was somehow important for me (and usually totally unimportant to most others). For example, my first office phone number was 471-1144, all composed of numbers on the left side of the grid.
A subsequent office was 798-2468. This appealed to me because at least it had some visual symmetry. And I thought it had a nice ring to it when recited. At least I thought it sounded appealing!
When I was a child, my father took great satisfaction in watching the odometer change over to the even numbers such as 20,000 or 30,000. We actually used to celebrate those events as a family with special treats. When my own kids were growing up, I did the same with them. I can remember driving around in a particular parking lot waiting for the change to 100,000 so that I could capture it on my cellphone! I wonder what my kids were thinking when I instructed them to observe all the nines become zeros!
Nowadays computer game designers are constantly coming up with ways to stimulate people focused on the screen. When I look back and imagine how little it took me to remain interested, I have to laugh. If I still can get excited about a numerical sequence, I guess it doesn’t take much to keep me grateful for life’s simple pleasures!