I glanced at the clock in the kitchen this morning and it was 9:11. Normal people look at the clock, find out the time, then go back to the task at hand. Not once in my life have I ever fooled myself into thinking I am, or falsely claimed to be, ‘normal.’
When I glanced at the clock and saw 9:11 glaring back at me I instantly thought, “Shit. It’s 9:11. This is a sign that I’m going to die in a fiery plane crash.” I had a little conversation with myself about the fact that this is crazy talk, and I needed to (as my Nana would say) cop myself on. But it got me thinking…
I’m very superstitious. For this I blame my Irish heritage and upbringing. When my palm itches or a spider walks towards me, well, these are signs that I will come into money. If I drop a knife while cooking or doing dishes I hear, “Knife on the floor, man at the door” in my head – even though not once in my 36 years has a man come to the door after I dropped one.
My husband broke two dishes last week, and I wanted him to take another one outside and shatter it, just to get it over with. And when something shatters I always think, “May it break all our troubles.” (Again, thanks Nana.)
Possibly the most ridiculous thing I fear is a black cat crossing my path. I will stop if I see one up the road, and find an alternate route home.
I’m not even joking.
My brother and husband have pointed out on numerous occasions that people who own and love black cats should not see them as harbingers of doom. But I can’t seem to help myself. I don’t walk through fairy rings, or under ladders. If a mirror needs breaking don’t ask me to do it – because I won’t. If I see a black cat walking across my street, I will wait until it’s gone, or reverse and go the other way. Why tempt fate?
These (with the exception of 9:11) are a part of my family culture as much as my birthright and I wouldn’t give them up for anything. In fact, when I spend time with my parents I’m reminded of more sayings I would love to incorporate in my repertoire. Like Mom telling me to shut my mouth in Irish – which I can say but not spell. Then there are some I would not include…like my Dad saying, “Caroline, children should be seen and not heard!”
But the things that leave me with a sense of dread – like 9:11, or worrying about why when I shuffle a deck of cards the 7 of diamonds always pops out, or getting freaked out by déjà vu – these are of my own creation.
So, does 9:11 mean anything for my future? Is my upcoming trip to California with my Mom doomed? Or should I start thinking of it as (;!! instead? It’s a domed winky excited face, not the end of my life! Maybe laughter is the best medicine.
(Or maybe the best medicine is the one my doctor prescribes when I tell her I’m going to need help getting on a plane.)