Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Are you Even?

I went out to lunch today with two people in my lab. It was one woman's last day so it was her, me and a new grad student whom I'll call Newbie. We were walking back to the lab from the cafeteria and I noticed Newbie next to me lose his footing resulting in kind of a skuffling of his foot against the pavement. I said nothing but kept walking. Then, it happened again.

"Jeez, Newbie," I said, "can you walk today?"

He laughed a little sheepishly. "The first one was my left foot. It was an accident. Then I had to do it to my right foot to make it even."

I replied, "You know, I totally get that."

The other woman looked surprised. "Yeah! Me too!"

So then Newbie said, "So if you are walking along and you notice your heel hit the pavement crack, do you have to time it so that the heel of your other foot hits a pavement crack too?"

"Yes!" We said.

This made perfect sense, though I've never verbalized that I do this. And apparently I'm not the only one. So I wondered how normal this is. I mean, let's face it. Three physics grad students do not represent a true cross-section of humanity. So help me out guys. Are any of you like this? Do you know someone who is?

Newbie said he's also funny about colored tile. If he steps on a certain number of one color, he must step on an equal number of that same color with the other foot. Now that's just weird, if you ask me.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm even. Maybe not as even as Newbie, but even enough.
So does having a fourth physicist chime in help attain an adequate cross-section of humanity?

Jackie said...

lol, well as a biologist, I would have to say, that I am not all that even. However, the evenness theory does make sense to me!

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm kinda even, but more in the step on one crack with left foot, have to step on other with right foot. And I like to try to keep my coloured tiles even, but I'm not neurotic about it, and I don't count them or anything.

I do sneeze in multiples, but that's neither here nor there....

greensunflower said...

You are so weird. I could never imagine doing something like this...EVER. Though I could imagine feeling extremely anxious about telling anyone my hopes and possiblities in life because then of course it wont happen. Like I feel anxious right now about a blog post I wrote like 3 weeks ago!

But I would never be weird like you all.

Runner Girl FL said...

I make 5 so that is a substantial cross section of the Physics community in Tampa.

The tile thing is weird though.

lefty_grrrl said...

Ha ha, no. I don't do any of those things. I've been known to be a little quirky when I'm anxious, but not in such a OCD fashion.

You know who probably does this kind of stuff? Baseball players. "Well, I tripped last night and I hit a home run." [makes self trip]

It's like the evenness, or the replication of events, will control... something. The outcome of events? Internal strife? The fate of the universe? I guess it all depends on the profession.

mom said...

i eat in pairs. i could never eat 11 crackers or 17 m&ms popcorn is kind of tricky so i wait until i'm down to a countable amount before pairing them off. i don't even bother eating anything smaller than a peanut....

Scott said...

I have no such compulsion. However, I am not considered a genius. Competent, but no genius. It sounds a bit autistic to me, which is kind of cool. I wish I could tell you the number of toothpicks that hit the ground from just the sound it makes.

Runner Girl FL said...

Dude...Your Mom is nuts TOO!!

magnetbabe said...

Thanks guys! I did notice something in your reponses. All the physicists are definitely even. jackie says she's not even and then admitted to doing everything I mentioned in my post. greensunflower is not even per se but a little anxious which is cool. I'm the same way. We are all left brained people.
The two right brained people, lefty (that's a little confusing) and Scott, have no compulsions like either. My mom is right brained also, but she has her weird m&m thing. Which I admit I can get like that too. Thanks, mom!
And baseball players might do stuff like that, but it's more voodoo than an inner need to restore balance to the universe.

brainhell said...

Not normal. Abnormal. No I don't. Sounds like Teret's Syndrome.

Gram said...

They say your never to old to learn something new, and this is news to me! I can honestly say it sure as heck didn't start with me. The only oc behavior I have is dark chocolate!!!!

lefty_grrrl said...

I'm actually 51% left brained, 49% right. I guess I just don't think (deep down) the order of the universe is found in compulsive behavior. If anything, most human disorder is caused by compulsions.

Regardless, there is something kind of arrogant in thinking that one little action like that (or even a bunch of them added up) can influence the universe.

So what happens when you just eat three M&Ms? Or one peanut? Or just trip once? Let's find out. I see a thesis in this...

magnetbabe said...

F$%&! S^#$! F#%$! I don't have Tourrete's!

Gram, if Ma didn't get her OC behavior from you, then from whom?

lefty,
The order of things in the Universe has no bearing on walking on cracks or whatnot. Unless you are really into the butterfly effect type of theories. But I do think that a little bit of compulsion can keep people driven. I don't know if this is true, but my piano teacher used to tell me that the only way Beethoven's mother could get him out of bed was to play seven notes of the scale. He's have to get up and play the last note. I don't know where I was going with that. I do think we should put my mom in a room with a two way mirror and observe her eat only 3 m&ms.

mom said...

i CAN eat 3 m&ms, i just don't WANT to....

Auntie said...

I can totally relate. When I am walking and come across those creepy metal, bar,vent things on the sidewalk... I jump over them for fear I will either fall through and go down into the sewer system or, some monster-like creature will come up and grab my feet and pull me down!!

lefty_grrrl said...

Your mom "I CAN eat only 3, I just don't WANT to..."

Uh huh. I CAN quit smoking anytime I want. I just don't want to.

P.S. I don't smoke anymore. Just reminded me of when people say that.

auntie said...

As I was re-apply my mascara and eyeline for the big Ladies night wine night Friday, I found myself counting how many strokes I had applied to each eye so I would have the same even amount!!

Anonymous said...

I have the solution: When walking, don't look down. From an old fellow physics person (since quit and gone) from across the hall.

;-)