We’re currently in the midst of a numerical anomaly that, poetically, also describes the state in which we’re living.
No, not Oregon (although that is true as well) — but more the emotional, psychological, spiritual state in which we find ourselves through this fire season.
Numerically, however, we’re coughing and wheezing our way through a stretch of 10 palindrome dates … if, that is, you write out the date as such — 8/12/18 — without the use of the “20” in front of the 18.
According to Aziz Inan, chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Portland, the first such date this year was on Aug. 1, and the rest began Friday and continue until a week from today.
Inan notes, by the way, that Aug. 10, 2018 was a full-date palindrome … 8/10/2018 … the 11th of 38 such days that will occur in this century, and the palindromic 222nd day of the year.
(And you thought I had too much time on my hands.)
All of this proves that if you’re feeling as though you’re not sure whether you’re coming or going these days, you’re not getting much help from the calendar ... never odd or even dates.
Palindromes (the term has Greek origins and examples have been documented in ancient Sanskrit texts ... as opposed to new Sanskrit texts) can be found in words, phrases, sentences, statistical anomalies and musical compositions.
Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 47 is nicknamed “The Palindrome,” while Lawrence Levine’s 1986 novel “Dr Awkward & Olson in Oslo” checks in at 31,954 words — all of which, if you had the time (say, if the worst air quality in the United States was keeping you indoors) and the will, you could verify was written the same both forward and backward.
(Heck, even Professor Inan doesn’t have that much time on his hands.)
“Palindrome” itself isn’t a palindrome, but spelling it in reverse does yield emordnilap — which has taken on a life of its own to describe words or phrases that, backwards, form entirely different words … for instance, how “Evian” will reveal “naïve,” and “Space Force” will become “boondoggle.”
I can’t speak for you, but I can for my cat … and she’s had it. Not with the palindromes — she’s staunchly in favor of “Step On No Pets” — but rather with the lather-rinse-repeat ritual required by this relentless, repressive reather.
(She’s a cat … she can’t tell if I’m being illiterately alliterative.)
She wants to go outside, but turns her nose up when given the opportunity and yowls at those responsible for befouling her air. (That would be us.) She detests the noise made by the wall-unit air conditioner and yowls at those responsible for creating the discordant “tattarrattat” than announces this intrusion during this summer of her discontent. (That, again, would be us.)
And, should she be in the mood to grace her humans with the pleasure of her company at bedtime, she can’t stand the heat generated by bodies decompressing after a day out in the smoke ... and yowls at those generating her discomfort.
(Why do we have a cat again?)
If fog comes in on little cat feet, then smoke-filled skies arrive with a thump and a whiskered, whimpering look of disgust.
My other housemate hasn’t resorted to whimpering (or yowling) just yet, but it’s clear — as clear as things can get these days in the haze, anyways — that this summer’s meteorological houseguest has long out-stayed its welcome.
“I’m just going to sigh over here,” she sighed Friday morning. “It doesn’t mean anything except that I just want to sigh.”
Was it a cat I saw nodding in agreement to these sentiments, or were these both so beaten down by the elements in the room that I was left to wonder whether I could name no one man who could figure out a way to shake their doldrums.
She (my housemate, not the cat) has been taking advantage of Southern Oregon University’s generosity and has joined others using the indoor track at the Student Recreation Center that has been opened from 6 to 8 Sunday through Thursday nights.
The air at SOU, conditioned and recirculated, is clean and at least she gets a chance to move — albeit walking or running around in circles, which seems appropriate for the circumstances thrust upon us.
The cat, meanwhile, does her best imitation of Billy Keane — dashing through every corner of the house, only to find herself no better off … and usually back where she started.
Imperfect solutions but, considering there are those on whom the climate has played much crueler tricks, they’ll suffice until tomorrow (and the days after that) while drawn, I sit … serene rest is inward.
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