# You Can Count on This

Hmmmm, that’s 42, 43, …

Maybe it’s the Math Teacher in me, maybe it’s just being a bit neurotic, but I can’t stop counting when doing repetitive things. For example, the first sentence contains 23 words. When an activity should be restful, relaxing or enjoyed for its own sake, I often complicate things by keeping count in my head.

Do you know how many bites it takes to eat a slice of pizza? I do, but only for the thin-crusted small sectors that come from my favorite pizza place. And it doesn’t vary by more than 2 bites each time (unless the person who did the cutting was having a bad day.) Did you ever see a small pizza of 6 slices come out where one slice looked like a sliver and another had a central angle of about 80 degrees? Throws my count way off!

I swim for fun and exercise, enjoyment and relaxation. But the only way I can do my laps is to count them. It always takes me the same time to do ½ mile, but rather than simply glance at the clock and stop at the appropriate time, I always count laps (by 2’s). Of course, while I’m swimming, I’m reciting to myself the number of completed laps: “8, 8, 8, 8” until I reach the wall and say, “10, 10, 10, 10….” That doesn’t leave much brain space for contemplation, working out problems, or wondering what to have for dinner.

I also count steps while walking up and down a stairway. Sometimes I count continually all the way to my destination, sometimes I stop at landings and start again. Depends on my mood. Sometimes I really freak myself out when the number of steps going up is different from those going down!

And, finally, biking provides numerous countable opportunities: number of pushes on the pedal during my ride; houses with “For Sale” signs, deer on the side of the road, cars where people are on cell phones, discarded soda cans, etc.

That’s 4 deer and 3 pigeons.”

Crazy? Or just quirky? I don’t know but I do know it’s part of my makeup and most people don’t even know that I am doing it. Now, however, that my readership knows this odd trait of mine, will they still love me?

There are 404 words in the above Post, including the title.

1. I’ve heard there are people who count everything. I’m not one of them. Maybe steps sometimes.

Counting bites of a slice of pizza made me smile! Is it possible there is a self-fulfilling thing going on, though. You know what you expect the count to be… how can you be sure you’re not sub-consciously “helping” it work out right?

• Helping the count….yes, I thought of that. Certainly possible!

• You need some way to perform a double-blind experiment!

• Too scientific! 🙂

2. I, too, count when I am doing repetitive activities, but I don’t count things. I just count. How weird is that? I am the furthest thing from a Math teacher. I stink at Math! But I did get my degree in Education…My counting is more like OCD. Interesting post.

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