Numbers and I have always had sort of an uneasy relationship. When I was in elementary school, in fifth grade I was reading at a second year of college level. Verbally, I've always been able to blow the socks off everybody, but numbers...well...ew. Turns out that my math is problem solving math. It is basically a book filled to overflowing with word problems. Word problems!!!!! I remember crying in frustration over word problems. I simply did not 'get' them. By the time that I'd struggled through trigonometry, I was done with math. I did not have to take Calculus if I did not want to, and I did not want to. On a most visceral level, I did not want to.
Last night was math class. 2 hours and 45 minutes of fun with numbers. And really so far, it hasn't been bad, although last weeks homework made me want to begin hacking at my own jugular. Problem was, after all the writing, the pencil was too dull to do damage. One problem took me 45 minutes. Turned out, I had oversolved. The question asked me to come up with all possible combinations of four even numbers totalling 24. So I gave him 141 possible solutions. Heh. Turns out that, f'rinstance 10 + 2 + 8 + 4 and 10 + 2 + 4 + 8 and 8 + 4 + 2 + 10 ad nauseum was one answer. For each combination, I listed every order I could come up with. Two pages of numbers. I'm telling you. Math is not my friend.
Last night we were solving problems like WOW + WOW + SO = COOK. W = 7. What are the other numbers. Or GTOM + PNAG = EGOAT. They'd assign a number to one of the letters, and you'd have to figure out the rest of them. Or ABCD x 4 = DCBA. What are the numbers ABCD stand for? The like. So I was struggling away, and here's the thing. I was solving the problems. A girl on my right kept saying "What are you doing? How did you know that? Why did you try that number?" And really, I couldn't, if my very life had depended on it, told you how I was solving these problems. I simply was. I found myself trying to explain by saying, 'Well, it fits. It has to be. It's the only number that fits' and that was it, really. The numbers all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. It wasn't a fluke. It happened over and over again. I understood how the numbers went together without understanding how I understood at all. I tried to demonstrate how this was happening at the chalkboard, and although I could do it, it was hard to explain. I felt a little like 'Rain Man'. It fits. It just fits. I don't know. I can just see that it fits, and I buy my underwear at Kmart.
When class was over, I was glad to leave, because I was stressed out. Nervous. Jittery. My hands were sweaty, and I was exhausted, and I had a headache too. It was the wierdest thing. I've never been good at math, but I am smoking this class (at least so far), and I don't understand why.