No to Numbers

Pic by Albastrica Mititica (cc 2.0 attrib)

imageThis is a post for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Come play! Today’s prompt is “No. Try to think of a specific number, as “no.” is often used as an abbreviation for “number,” and write about it. Or, use it as a word.”

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I said no to numbers quite early, I think, as many females seem to have done. In primary school I was able to add, subtract, divide and multiply but by the time I got to Year 8 maths with Miss Vric I was already giving into the invisible voices internally and externally that said “I can’t do this.” Everyone knew that you were either maths or English, science or mysticism. Like a good little western Cartesian, I sliced myself deftly in half when algebra and trigonometry began to be a thing. Which is weird in a way because algebra seems to me now closer to language than anything I’d come across in maths thus far. But no. I had a vagina and therefore I probably wasn’t any good at this thing. It was too hard. I didn’t have the brainpower to do it, right?

It was a foregone conclusion. It felt as if it had been decided for me beforehand, delivered into my head (girls don’t do this sort of thing and so if you do it then that means that the horrid shame you carry around with you is right and you are not only a loser piece of shit but you’re also weird too). It doesn’t occur to you that you could develop into maths as a form of rebellion.  You’re super into rebellion, after all, in your trying to remove yourself from your shame, so why not rebel against expectations and become good at maths?

Because that’s too nerdy. You prefer the more self-destructive forms of rebellion like drinking and vomiting on weekends and, in the not-too-distant future, sleeping with people that you don’t really want to sleep with. Your rebellion must constitute some self-punishment. Being good at maths is not destructive enough.

And anyway, you can’t be good at maths because you’re good at English. Or you would be if you stopped distracting other students and learned to apply herself. I was applying myself. It was just in things like staring out the classroom window into the hallway because Marc Ward’s locker was there and the days were punctuated not by class periods but about when I got to see Marc. If that was a subject on my report card, i’d have got an A++


9 thoughts on “No to Numbers

  1. I went AWOL on numbers too. From the age of about 14 I was increasingly perplexed – especially by Algebra! My mantra in class was “But why?” This annoyed my teacher, who got increasingly exasperated. I got my own back by doing the sums over a whole page and getting through lots of jotters. I never did get the hang of numbers, but I did learn what to do to get through it. This was my ultimate revenge – I got an A 😉 My teacher was a bit miffed; especially as his Star Pupil only got a C!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jotters! Man, I just had a flashback!

      You got the hang of numbers enough to get an A though, so you must have had some kind of hang ☺ I used to get frustrated about that too – but why are we doing this? How is it important? I used to feel so much contempt for people who couldn’t even answer that question (with that special super arrogance reserved for teenagers)


    1. Haha! If I closed my eyes and squinted I guess she could have been Severus Snape’s cousin. She used to say, “Uz thayat cleyar?” in what I think was a Canadian accent. She did not deserve to have to put up with the likes of me

      Liked by 1 person

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