Dear Dr Freud,
Sadly, I suffer from an affliction common to all mathematics purists; a compulsion to embellish daily events with numerical trivia. I hope this missive triggers your psychoanalytical curiosity to the point of allowing you to dispense an appropriate course of therapy.
Driving to school I contentedly memorised car number plates and passed bus stops with an average of three students per lineal metre. I reflected on whether their line formation follows more an arithmetic sequence than a geometric one. According to the normal probability distribution curve and empirical observation, these young scholars must be waiting for a 4300 kg, 55 seater school bus whose fuel consumption is 9 L/100 km.
Please forgive me for such minutiae, but it is beyond my control and ken.
After a morning of teaching I looked forward to a chocolate bar from the canteen. Unfortunately, a score and a half of students and teachers were similarly inclined and had already staked their position in the queue. But honestly, Herr doctor, I didn't mind waiting twenty minutes in line nor did I begrudge leviathans who took an inordinately long period of minutes and seconds to satiate their dietary requirements. But I will confess, Sigmund, that I singularly resented the powerfully built PE teacher whose only purchase was a 125 mL bottle of very healthy carrot juice. No-one has a right to such health! I did so want him to experience what it is like for Foie gras geese to be fed 20 milligrams of oats every 20 seconds with a force of 100 Newtons.
At lunch time for precisely 23.25 minutes I normally sit at my desk and tally the number of students and teachers traversing the courtyard. This spacious walkway comprises 563 oblong shaped tiles displaying regular tessellation geometries. At times of hubris I may also entertain thoughts of establishing the wildlife pigeon:crow:galah ratio on the school oval.
This time, however, a desire to see the impending school production found me gravitating towards the general office in search of tickets. There I joined a queue, but time passed pleasantly as I calculated how many calories of energy are required to stand on both legs. As an extension problem, I wondered if standing on one leg would require only half this amount.
From a bearing of N150E I hear "Hey, sir". It was Jimmy.
"Do you want tickets?" he asked pleasantly.
"Yes," I replied.
"I've got them. Half price," he uttered secretively, waving a sealed school envelope.
"Yes, look and learn", I teased Jimmy’s friends when I witnessed them shake their heads at the transaction. "Maths teachers know numbers."
On the way home I stopped at the supermarket. Aisles of priced items, barcodes and pyramid-style fruit stacks made me salivate and drool. Now, Mr Freud, as learned professionals, you and I appreciate the law of averages in mathematical probability. Out of ten registers, at least one should allow me to make my purchase relatively painlessly. I chose register 5 because it is a nice, down to earth, hard-working prime number.
But no! The light came on. "Sorry, sir," the cashier informed me vacuously, "this register is closed. Please go to another one."
I march to register 7, the next prime number after 5. A matron was claiming she was being overcharged for a can of beans. Holding the cylindrical receptacle in one hand, she gesticulated with sinusoidal periodicity with her other hand. Should I patiently wait? Queue lengths at other checkouts were abating at an exponential rate. Dare I make a 180 degree clockwise rotation?
The young manager arrived. I’m sure no less than 57 pimples of various stages of development resided on his face. Not exercising the wisdom of Solomon, he stated that he must check the price on the master computer.
Reaching limiting equilibrium, I sidled to register 3. Mr Freud, I will spare you details of what ensued; of how the cashier ran out of change and how I was unceremoniously escorted from the premises by law enforcement personnel.
It may also interest you to know that Jimmy’s envelope did not contain tickets. All I found was a cryptic message: “Good things come to those who wait".
I am still waiting doctor, but I hope to be released from my forced confinement. And I find that time does pass faster when I create a one-to-one correspondence of the number of nurses patrolling the sterile corridors with scratches on the wall.
Respectfully,
A desperate soul.