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Location: PDX, United States

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Magic Number

I'm intimidated by math, but I have a secret fondness for numbers and patterns.

In 1992, when I moved back to Seattle, I fell in love with my phone number. It took me a full month to realize why, that it was a palindrome: 860-6068

When I moved to a different neighborhood 7 years later, I tried to take my phone number with me. At the time, phone companies didn't provide this type of service. The woman working with me was really understanding of my desire to keep a palindrome number, and did her best to find me a new one. There wasn't one available, but she did find one with a nice rhythm, 721-3121. I wrote her supervisor a letter about the excellent customer service she provided.

Last August, when I was trying desperately to find an apartment in Portland and first saw my building, I took it as a good omen that the number of the building was 1111. A. drove Ray and I down to Portland a coupe of weeks later to get us settled in, and was really excited I was living in apartment #3. She told me it was her favorite number.

I can't believe that next week is my one year anniversary in Portland. It seems both longer and shorter, and I feel like I still have so far to go in terms of acclimating and restructuring my life, and even fully claiming the space in my own apartment. I still need to paint two more rooms.

Before my parents left for Italy last month, they asked me if I wanted them to pick up anything special for me while they were there. I asked for something for my apartment, hoping whatever they picked up would motivate me to put a little more thought and energy into my place.

My mother called the other night to let me know she and my father were back in Seattle, and that they had picked up a hand painted tile with the number four on it in Assisi. When I asked them why the number four, she told me it was for the door to my apartment. Since she is coming down to visit in a few days and will deliver the tile in person, there was no way I could shield her from the fact I live in apartment number three. She felt badly.

I have have no idea what I will do with the number four tile. If liked my neighbor who lives in number four better, maybe I'd give it to her. But I don't, and besides, it was chosen specifically with me in mind. Maybe I should just hang it up in a prominent place in my living room so that people will notice it and wonder about its significance. It will make a good story.

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