So I’m OCD. Big Deal.

OK. Say it. The Ducks can’t beat Stanford, but Utah can.

Just wait until next year …

I’ve determined, through a lot of inward looking self diagnosis, that I’m a Count. More appropriately, I’m a Counter. Have been for years, and thought nothing of it. It just seemed to be a normal way of life, and it provided me expedient ways to do certain mundane tasks without really thinking about it. For some reason, once I begin a count, the numbers keep progressing, kind of subliminally, until the end of whatever action caused me to start the count.

For instance, filling a water-glass from our filtered water source, inside the refrigerator. I know how long it takes to fill every size glass we have. Diane likes the big, heavy glasses, which take a count of 10 to reach just below the rim, enough so that I’m not likely to spill any as I transport it to her location, wherever it may be at the moment. My normal size glass only takes a count of 8.

We also have glasses obtained from the purchase of dried chipped beef, which we both love but which is too salty to have very often. Still, we have a number of those and they take to the count of 6.

Grinding coffee, using my settings takes a count of 19.

I equate all those counts to seconds which gives it more meaning to me, for some reason. I guess that would have to do with cadence, not really time, but the association works.

When I worked, and walked the six blocks from the bus stop, then back in the afternoon I knew I had 8 seconds to get across the street once the light changed before they installed the walk lights that count down for you. In Portland, on SW Salmon Street, the lights are set for a vehicle speed of about 15 mph which in no way equates to walking speed. That’s only important if you’re driving. Still, it affects walking speed if you know what you’re doing.

Once the walk like quits blinking “Don’t Walk” at the end of 12 seconds, the traffic light goes yellow for 4 seconds before turning red in your direction, and green on the cross street. So, if you begin immediately when the walk light gives you permission, you have a leisurely 16 seconds to make it across pretty much any of the numbered streets as you walk up, or down, Salmon Street.

What messes that all up, however, is how long it takes you to walk a block. For me it was about 52 seconds. That aside, knowing where the Walk light was in its cycle as I approached a cross street gave me an edge because I can actually get across any of those streets in about 5-6 seconds.

I know all those numbers are true because I counted them every day for a number of years not knowing why. Now I do. I hope that information serves someone else who finds themselves walking up and down Salmon Street.

Now, if you’re ever in my house, and need to go down the basement stairs in the dark, there are 15 stairs. I count them every trip I make. This is useful information if you are carrying a laundry basket, either direction, which I do frequently to help Diane. Before she discovered how many stairs there were, some time ago, she decided to skip the last step and launched into space about 14 inches from the bottom instead of 7. As a result, she pivoted to a near horizontal angle before striking the floor and wound up about 10 feet from the bottom of the stairs and, oddly, on the opposite side of a steel support pole from the stairs. That’s a mystery.

I still trip myself up on the stairs, though. Not because I miscount, but because I’m in a hurry. And, I don’t fall down the stairs, I generally slip on the way up. This is a problem if I’m not carrying anything because I fall further and the landing is considerably harder.

It takes 8 seconds to walk down our hall, and another 4 to make it to my bathroom. At my age, knowing this is very important.

So, the only lesson I can glean from this is that it’s a really good idea to pace yourself.


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