Superstitious Minds

Growing up in the south, my dear sweet Southern mama held plenty of superstitions. She believed that tying a string around a rock and burying it under a full moon would get rid of warts. She cringed when anyone opened an umbrella inside. I’m pretty sure she thought wearing white after Labor Day was not only a crime against fashion, but likely to end in tragedy.

I’ve developed my own set of superstitions through the years. I am insanely superstitious about calendars. I have a page-a-day on my desk and forbid myself to look ahead. I won’t rip off the day until it is past midnight. In my planner, I won’t cross through a day until it’s over. I think it’s bad joujou to call a day over before it ends.

In other date-related superstitions, I believe that however I spend New Year’s Day from midnight on reflects how the rest of the year will look. This year, I found myself at midnight dancing with a homeless guy to Lady Gaga. You can imagine the kind of year it’s been.

A Pittsburgh superstition that I never came across until I moved here is the bad luck that comes from “splitting a pole,” when you’re walking down a sidewalk with someone. If both people separate onto either sides of a pole instead of crossing it on the same side, the friendship is doomed. Never one to violate the local luck gods, I’ve adopted this one.

I’m willing to risk life and limb for a lucky penny. If I find one face down, I turn it over for the next person.

I suppose you could also call my inability to get rid of a single book that I own a superstition. I actually do go back while I write to scenes I liked, favorite poems, or whole chapters that worked in things I have read, so they don’t just sit there unloved. Also, I could name every single book I’ve loaned out in the last five years that never returned. Because later I needed them for something. They are my precious babies. Separate us at your own peril.

So, what are you superstitious about?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Superstitious Minds

  1. On the daily calendars, I won’t peek ahead to other days. Actually, I don’t do that for monthly calendars either. No idea how that one started.

    I put loose eyelashes on my fingertip, make a wish and blow. Apparently I’m still 12 deep down.

  2. John Wilder

    At the risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t have any superstitions, don’t belive in them. I am also from the south.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  3. I’ve heard of the pole thing, but usually think about it as I’m “splitting the pole”.

    I love that you turn over pennies. I’m afraid to touch them unless their heads up!

  4. Ooh I have loads, but maybe they could be described as OCD habits rather than superstitions. I have to use my small cutlery, the same wine glass, sleep on the right, walk on the left and sit facing a room. I just know bad things will happen if I don’t.

    Love the penny thing, i might adopt that!

  5. Torsten and I split poles all the time. I actually think it’s sweet. We’ll be holding hands and some barrier will come up and we briefly drop hands and split around it, then join hands again on the other side.

    I am not superstitious but I will say during this pregnancy I’ve been worried about jinxing things. I mean, not jinxing them exactly, but not wanting to do things like buy the crib until we’ve had the 20-week ultrasound and know that the baby is developing normally. I was also nervous about buying a pregnancy journal while I was still in the first trimester. It’s partly a jinxing thing and partly fear that if something does go wrong these concrete steps that have already been taken will make me feel worse about the whole thing. Though if something did go wrong I can’t imagine how I could possibly feel worse than I already would. I guess it’s not really rational.

  6. Laurie

    I will never step on sidewalk cracks. Not that I believe it will actually break my mother’s back or that it’s bad luck. But, I just don’t do it. Most of my habits would fall under OCD category.

  7. splitting poles for sure. ack. I can’t believe you may have done that and you aren’t dead or dismembered or still friends with the person you split the pole with.

    And me too with the pennies. If it’s tails down, I kick it. If it comes heads up, I pick it up. If not, I let it lie.

  8. Pingback: 2010- The Year in Review | ELEANOR’S TROUSERS

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