The most common bit of advice I have received from writers is simply, “Write what you know.” Based on that advice alone, I will never write about math. I do not know math. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do know addition and subtraction, provided you give me a minute to get the visual in my head and work at it for a few minutes. If the problem involves single digits, I should be able to have an answer for you within seconds. If double digits are involved, I’ll need a little more time. If triple digits are involved, you might as well check in with me the following day.
Why is math so difficult for me? I fear it, plain and simple. Many of my friends are math wizards. At least, I consider them wizards, because they know how many times Farmer John’s red tractor wheel turned when he went west on a southbound road, while Train B left the station at 2pm going north. Yeah! I know! My friends are wicked smart!
So, while my friends are getting the answers lickity-split, I become self-conscious of the fact that I am still trying to determine why the color of Farmer John’s tractor is relevant. I don’t want my friends to think I am stupid. I mean, duh!
True story: Many years ago, I was out with three friends enjoying a dinner at the Silver Spoon Cafe. (I believe it is now The American Cafe.) We finished eating, and the waitress brought our separate checks. Typically, when it comes to figuring out the tip, I would rely on my friends to give me the amount I needed to leave. However, this evening, I was determined to figure out the tip on my own. I know! Crazy, eh?
I cradled my head in my hands, as I closed my eyes and did the math. I was determined to come up with my tip total all by myself. I was going to make my friends proud, by George! I could do it! Right? Right!
Apparently, my head was cradled for a prolonged period of time. Though I heard voices, I was doing my best to ignore the voices and focus on the figures. Turns out the voices were my friends trying to get my attention. I finally registered one of my friends asking, in a motherly tone, “Lenore, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
I looked up, and I found all three of my friends staring at me wide-eyed with concern. “Huh? Oh.” I said, as I snapped back into the real world. (The math world is crazy.) “I was just trying to figure out the tip. I wanted to impress you guys.”
Immediately, my three friends laughed in hysterics, while I sat there heartbroken. I was so close in figuring out the tip. One more ‘carry the one’, and I would have had it! I informed my friends that the next time they saw my head cradled in my hands, I wanted them to leave me alone, [please].
Since then, the standard tip has gone from 15% to 20%. Though I’m still unable to calculate tip in an instant, I have reduced the time it takes to get the final figure. Moving the decimal and doubling the number is fairly easy, even for me. (Of course, by easy, I mean it takes me 5 minutes vs. 15 minutes.) God help me if the standard tip goes to something like 23%.
Wait. Did I just write an entire post about math? Ack. What will the critics say? By the way, have you seen the latest theme available through WordPress? Basic Maths. *Shudder*
Be Kind. Take care of yourself and each other;
and, keep your pocket calculator with you at all times!