It's 11:11 (that's 2311 for Europeans) do you know where your superstition is?

          This is something I did, do, and will do again: re-read, re-post, and re-comment.  I wrote this four years ago.  It contains the required number (for me) of *bing* elements, which I—now—include in the title.  The bookends work.  My beginning, middle and ending flow in a succinct-enough fashion to warrant another look, and I recall the mentioned rapscallion didn't understand my title's double entendre, which made me feel old when I explained my childhood television's curfew question.

          The sentence—I'm proud that I am smart enough to not have any superstitious beliefs—is vainglorious and condescending; but, it's also true.  A few months ago, I had a brief conversation about ghosts with our resident rapscallion (my paramour's teenage son).  All conversations with youth are brief, so this one might almost count as a lengthy one.  We were watching TV, and I was jumping over a commercial logjam in 30sec hops with the DVR remote (for unaware Europeans: American TV has a few-minutes of commercials every ten minutes).  My last hop advanced into the show, so I made a couple 10sec back-jumps and we watched a portion of a commercial for one of those shows where a group of people walk around at night, with night vision cameras, in old buildings (for unaware Europeans: most Americans think one-hundred year old buildings are ancient).

"Do you believe in ghosts?"
"No."  I said (as I paused the TV).
"So, ummm, what do you think happens after you die?" 
"Where were you before you were born?" (My default teach-a-teenager position has become—answer a question with a question.  It can, occasionally, cause an additional sentence to be added to the conversation.)
"So, like, that's it?  Nothingness?"
"You almost sound upset."
"Well, it's kinda know...blip and we're done."
"I'm not telling you what to believe.  You can pick from dozens of religions that say you go someplace magical.  Also, if you want to think ghosts move old dusty chairs in basements of derelict buildings or float around as orbs...well, that's your prerog™."  (Clipping a suffixplus is kinda lame, but I get a kick when he repeats them.  In a month I'll overhear him with a friend playing Guitar Hero, "If you don't wanna use the mic while I play guitar that's your prerog bitch.")
"But you don't.  And you're happy with that."
"Not only am I content with 'blip and we're done' (as I said blip I snapped my fingers) I'm amazed and confused by anyone who wants and believes their existence to be infinite and forever."
"Amazed and confused—isn't that a Led Zep..."
"Dazed and confused is Zep.  Amazed and confused is Neil Diamond."
"You sure?"
"About the song titles...yes."

          This conversation got me thinking about my lack of superstitious beliefs.  I realized that I do have one thing which can only be explained as superstitious ideation.  It also could just be a big coincidence (I once had a co-worker who said there were no such things as coincidences, but I think he might have been superstitious).

          Almost every time-telling device in my possession, or around our home, is digital.  I don't wear a watch (and haven't for many years).  Since I don't live a life of deadlines, schedules, or appointments (and haven't for many years) I'm usually not concerned with knowing what time it is.  This lack of concern results in my not looking at the digits on the stove or the front of the DVR.  I can answer my cell, talk, and hang up...all without looking at the time.  I probably check the time about six times a day.

          I usually need a strong reason to look at a clock.  If I'm woken and it's still dark out, I'll point my eyes at the digits on the nightstand.  If someone rings our doorbell at night, the clock will tell me if it's too late for our resident rapscallion to have visitors.  If I've been reading for hours and wonder if I could squeeze in another hundred pages, I'll let those same digits on the nightstand decide.  If I'm hungry, but we have dinner plans this evening, the digits inform me if a snack is necessary.  A round of golf could take 4 hours.  The film starts at 5:45.  The store closes at 9.  Even in my lackadaisical life there are reasons to look at the time.

          Lately (and by that I mean for the last several months) when I do, it seems, more-often-than-not, the digits are all the same.  An inordinate amount of the time, when I check the time, it is either 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55, or 11:11.  And I read somewhere, enough years ago that I've forgotten when and where, that when that happens regularly it means something important is going to happen—and, that something is going to either be fortuitously good or viciously evil (I also forget which).

          I'm not saying that every time I check a clock it's always all-same-numeral time.  But out of a possible 720 different minutes in every 12-hour period, there are six times it occurs (for unaware Europeans: Americans use a.m. and p.m. instead of the 24-hour clock).  That's a dozen opportunities out of every day, or—to be specific—only a 0.83% chance for it to happen every day.

          I woke up at 4:44 to use the bathroom last night.  My landlord had people clean-out the rain gutters today; they arrived at 11:11.  I can go a day or three without it happening, but it's so frequent that I've begun to seriously wonder at the odds.

          If I was completely non-superstitious, I wouldn't even notice if I sat down to watch TV at 5:55 or went to bed at 1:11.  But since I can't seem to stop noticing it happen, I must be a little superstitious.

          [After writing this essay, I began to look for appropriate images and, in so doing, discovered more than a few e-groups discussing the 'phenomenon' as communications from the other side or somesuch.  They were a comfort to read, because then I realized that all I'm doing is pattern-recognizing.  If I see it's 10:52, I immediately forget the time and note to myself, "almost eleven."  But when I started the car last week and it was 2:22—that immediately got saved in long term memory because it's a signpost, of course!]

          AAAhhhh me.  Once again a superstitiousless idiot.

Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. — Helen Keller (blind and deaf author-activist)

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