I am not superstitious; I’d like to make that clear. I will happily walk on the cracks in the pavement. I would be fine living on the 13th floor. I have no problem walking under a ladder – unless, of course, someone is up there painting, in which case you’d be an idiot to walk under a ladder.
I’ve always thought of myself to be far too intelligent or worldly or whatever you want to call it for superstitions. This is what I thought.
The moment I realised I wasn’t too intelligent or worldly or whatever you want to call it happened on a long flight to Singapore. I was writing, which is what I liked to do on planes back then. This was during that time shortly before planes gave everyone their own video screens – or, if you were lucky enough to get on a plane where everyone had their own video screen, more often than not the system stopped working 2 minutes into the flight. So to pass the time, I’d write, or read or stare jealously at all those people who were able to sleep.
I spent the rest of the flight writing about superstition – such are the mysteries of inspiration – and only once the flight had landed, taxied and come to a complete stop could I go back a few pages and fill in the small blank with the word “crash.”
From that point on, I was on the look out for any other superstitions I might have. I observed myself closely for signs of other similar behaviour. But this seemed to be my only one. If I spilled salt, I didn’t throw it over my shoulder, if I did anything I would brush it on the floor. Black cats could walk in front of me if they liked, I didn’t care. If they get too close, I might kick them, but that’s not for luck, that’s just how I feel about cats.
I was really pleased to find out I only had this one superstition. This one tiny bit of craziness or naivety or whatever you want to call it.
As you can guess, nothing happened. I mean, a baby cried, four people sneezed and someone called for the stewardess instead of turning on the light, but nothing unusual for a flight. I was cured. I went back to reading Macbeth. I even said the name out loud. “Macbeth.” Wrote the word “crash” a few more times. Nothing.
I was cured of my one single superstition. I should have been happy, because now I was 100% sane or worldly or whatever you want to call it
But I wasn’t. It was like I’d taken a step away from being human; like I was slightly less interesting.
And then, I thought, “surely ‘believing that being illogical is what makes you interesting’ is a form of superstition.” And I told myself, “Yes it is.” And I was imperfect and interesting again; and always will be. Touch wood.
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