November 10, 2009

3's and 9's...

(Smile if you got the obscure musical reference there. Getting it would probably require either too much time spent playing Guitar Hero III or an extensive knowledge of Queens of the Stone Age. Either way, pat yourself on the back.)

Anyhow, as I made mention of yesterday (or two days ago, if you want to cruelly point out that it's 1 a.m. and I'm not asleep yet) I went through Damian's room and cleaned it out yesterday (or the day before. Whatever). What I did not mention is that under the table in his room I found one lone domino, nine dots on one end and three on the other.

What, you ask, is at all significant about a stupid domino? Well, in and of itself, nothing. I left the domino on the bathroom counter because I was in a hurry to leave for church, and the bathroom counter is my usual transfer point between upstairs and downstairs. Mindful of my grandma's admonition to "make your head save your feet", I generally stockpile things that need to go up/downstairs in central locations, and take the whole pile whenever I think of it. The "to go downstairs" pile is on the bathroom counter, because that is a place I'm likely to visit during the day.

This morning I was in the bathroom brushing my hair and the Chamaco was in there brushing his teeth, and the domino was still on the counter. He glances at it and goes, "Hey, twelve!" And it just blew my mind. Here's why: I look at that same domino and I see 3 and 9.... the parts that make up the whole, not the whole itself. And yes, I am a detail person... can't see the forest for the trees and all that. I am most assuredly not a big picture person, I live almost entirely in the here and now, and future planning of any kind - even what I'm doing tomorrow night - is a stretch for me. And I look at the domino and I see 3 and 9. The Chamaco, on the other hand, looks at that same domino and the first thing out of his mouth is "twelve". Not only does he add pretty good for being seven-nearly-eight, but he immediately latched on to the big picture (as it pertains to a rather small domino). He doesn't see the parts, he sees the whole. And now that I think about it, he is generally more date-aware than I am... he's more likely to know what day it is and how many days it is until a major event of some sort.

I thought this would make an interesting psychological test, so I stuck the domino in my pocket and took it to work with me. I told Nancy I was going to show her something and that she should say the first word that popped into her head after "domino", assuming that would be the first one. Then I showed her the domino. She said, "dots". This possibly means she is even less math-oriented than me, though I don't see how that could even be possible really. So later I altered the test and told the subject to say the first number that came into her head, then showed her the domino. She said, "three", and then later confessed she said three because she couldn't remember as quickly how many dots were in that particular configuration on the other end. Someone needs to play more Mexican Train. Or drink fewer energy drinks. ;-)

So, readers, here's my first participation survey of the blog... If I were to show you a domino (not necessarily a 3/9, but just any domino) would you notice first how many dots were on one or both ends, or would you notice first the cumulative total of dots? Go ahead and leave your answers in the comments. Could be interesting. :-)

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