Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Numbers Are Not My Friends (Yes, I Suck At Math)

It is tax time.  The days that I sit down to get things ready for the tax accountant are the crabbiest days of the year.  I HATE working with numbers. There is such a thing as number dyslexia and I am fairly certain I have it. I sit down to figure out simple columns of numbers, and within seconds I feel like I have a tumor or something blocking my brain.  It is like looking at a foreign language.

Yes, I eventually muddle through it, but not without attaching dozens of notes to the accountant.  That poor woman probably shudders when she gets my stuff.  In the past, we would meet in her office, so it would be me seeing the notes and reading them to her.  Now she just has people drop off their taxes to be processed so she will personally see my ramblings.

Could I do our taxes myself?  Ummm...I suppose.  I could also pull my own tooth if it needed to come out, but that doesn't mean I am about to.  Between the two, I would rather pull out the tooth.

Same with bank balances.  I have had a checking account (in fact several) for decades.  I have NEVER balanced with what the bank says.  Never. Not once. It I ever did it would quite possibly herald the beginning of armageddon.  I know I would be stunned speechless...and that takes quite a lot. For me, if the bank says I have more than I say we do that works.

I always hated math classes in school.  The worst were those "if this train leaves Boston at 8am on Tuesday going 55 miles per hour and another train leaves Miami at 6:15pm Wednesday going 115 miles per hour, who will arrive in Los Angeles first?" problems.  My mind totally shut down due to three things: The numbers blocked me, boredom and the frustration that I really didn't give a damn because I could be doing something that actually mattered...like painting something or writing.  Doing something with friends.

Don't even get me started on the math problems that were supposed to take an hour or more to work through.  How long did they take me?  About 25 seconds.  Then I would go do something fun with my life.  You don't get that hour back. So I barely passed math.  Yawn. I still managed to be an honor student, heavy in art and language classes.

Yes, I know math is important to a lot of things in life.  But you can't force what you don't have.  I used to be kept after school because I could not draw the correct times on the circles we made with the water dishes for painting class (sacrilege to use them for math).  Was it 6:00 or 12:30?  I knew the difference between the longer and shorter hand.  But the numbers on the clock bothered me. 

Most people hate those clocks with no numbers, just hands.  They are my friend.  Now it is all digital and a "pm" lights up.  I can tell time just fine. Still, I don't wear a watch.  I can usually guess within 10 minutes what time it is. I can also ask if it matters that much.  I do have clocks in the house, but a watch?  No thanks. Any number that close to my veins may poison me further.

One thing I can figure out mathwise is this:  One me plus any group of numbers equals zero.  Zero interest, zero tolerance.  I get that red plus yellow equals orange.  But 20148 plus 50281? That is what calculators are for.  Just to be sure, I do the addition on the calculator three or four times to make sure. Why?  Because I do know this: numbers can't be trusted.  They just can't be.

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