Math is not my thing. At all. My recurring nightmare is not being prepared for a math test and if I don’t take the test, I cannot graduate high school. My vision of what my hell will be like is an eternal algebra class. Husband #1 stopped letting me be in charge of the checkbook when he saw that I was rounding up to the nearest dollar (or rounding down — whatever made me think I had more money than I actually did). I think that in a previous column I had mentioned that my geometry teacher from high school lives in my neighborhood. I no longer get scared when I see her, but it was touch and go for a while.
What does math have to do with any of what is going on? I will try to bring it all together now…
We are about 12 weeks in to this new normal. Every time I go for a walk, I compare it to playing the video game “Frogger.” Do you remember that game? You had to get a frog across a swamp and then a highway. You had to move the poor froggie to the left and the right, the go straight ahead, and then jump back, all in order to avoid getting squashed by some sort of vehicle, or eaten by a crocodile in the swamp crossing. That is what walking in my neighborhood has turned into.
If I am walking on the sidewalk and I see someone walking toward me on the sidewalk, I will walk in the street to avoid the possibility of almost breathing in the same air as the other person. Sometimes, if there is someone walking on the street, I will walk in the middle of the street, right on those two yellow lines. (Which is really hard to do in the middle of Route 4. Just kidding! I haven’t had to do that on Route 4 just yet….)
Last week, I saw two friends walking, one on either side of a pretty wide street. I had no choice but to walk in the middle of these two friends. (They are friends with each other, but neither of them are friends with me, because they were both about 16 and that would be weird.) And this is where my geometry teacher came into my thoughts.
If Lucy and Ethel are walking 12 feet apart from each other, neither wearing masks, and Banji has no choice but to walk in between Lucy and Ethel, how many feet are between Lucy and Banji, and how many feet are between Banji and Ethel? And if Lucy isn’t wearing a mask and she coughs, how many seconds does Banji have to avoid the possibly contaminated droplets in order to remain relatively healthy? What is the rate of travel??? Well, Banji is wearing a mask so hopefully it wouldn’t matter — but I thought that was a pretty good geometry questions. Right, Mrs. Geometry Teacher (whose name I won’t reveal in order to keep her privacy private…)?
And speaking of masks, I have come to realize that I have been waiting my whole life to wear them. “Why?” you ask? 1. I never have to wear lipstick again. 2. You can stick your tongue out at people you don’t like (and who are standing too close to you) and they can’t see what you are doing. 3. When you mutter under your breath (again, at the person standing to close to you or the person you don’t like) they have an even harder time hearing what you are muttering about. And 4. Women never have to worry about having a beard or mustache!! See! Who says I am a negative person?
So as we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, which has something to do with numbers and counting and brings us back to the topic of this column — math — may the calories of your cheesecake not count. And may this be the last holiday that we have to spend isolated from each other and the Torah — unless, of course, your boys are black hat and you have a Torah in your basement. (I have no idea who I am talking about…)
Wishing you all continued good health and sanity.