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30 August 2008 / April

23 times 11

In the car on the way to Cornell yesterday morning, I pulled out the class roster to check what room I was meant to be in at 9:05.  “Malott 253.  Which is easy to remember, because it’s 23 times 11.”

(The digits of these are the first four terms of the Fibonacci sequence, but I hadn’t even noticed that at the time; it was memorable enough on its own.)

My mom thought for a few seconds.  “Hey, you’re right.  How did you figure that out so fast?”

She sounded genuinely surprised– and so was I.  “I used the trick that you taught me.”

“Really?  … I must have been reading it from a book when I taught it to you.  It wasn’t something I’d memorized.”

I knew this was false, because I remembered the time that she taught it to me and we were on a walk, the closest things to books our minds and the trees around us.  But now, I stayed quiet.

She told me that she’d unearthed one of her old math notebooks from college the other day and flipped through it.  “It was something to do with complex functions.  I didn’t understand any of it.”

“Oh.”  I couldn’t help myself.  “That’s depressing.”

“Not really, actually.  I just feel proud that I once knew.”

I felt incredibly, incredibly young.

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